Moving EpiPens to public venues big step forward

Medics, firefighters and police officers know that time is of the essence when responding to medical emergencies. That’s why the city of Greenwood is providing its parks and other properties such as the city center with epinephrine autoinjectors, or EpiPens. EpiPens are used when a person goes into anaphylactic shock.

Anaphylactic shock is a dangerous allergic reaction caused by bee stings or certain foods. EpiPens stop and reverse that allergic reaction. 

A state law that went into effect July 1 allows schools and city and state properties, such as parks and government offices, to have EpiPens on site and ready to use in the event of an anaphylactic shock. Each city employee who works where an EpiPen is on hand will go through training to learn how to use them.

Greenwood Division Chief of EMS Darin Hoggatt said, “This is huge. Situations where you have a lot of people gathered during the summertime at parks or at the pool, if anaphylactic shock is caused by a bee sting, this gives you immediate medical assistance.”

Before the law was passed, EpiPens were only prescribed to the person who might need it in the event of an allergic reaction.

Hoggatt said Greenwood emergency medics respond to 30 to 50 calls a year in which a person is going into anaphylactic shock and EpiPens have to occasionally be used. He said EpiPens will be readily available at the Greenwood Community Center, the pool, the city center and parks buildings.

Prior to EpiPens, automated external defibrillators, or AED, were the most recent lifesaving medical technology made available to the public. AEDs are used for an individual who has gone into cardiac arrest and are available on city grounds and schools, where EpiPens will soon be.

The change in state law offers communities a lifesaving step forward. We commend Greenwood for acting quickly and urge other jurisdictions to follow suit.

At issue

In cases of anaphylactic shock, seconds can spell the difference between life and death.

Our point

Greenwood has taken advantage of a recent change in state law to place epinephrine autoinjectors in places where the public frequently gathers.