Wednesday, September 6, 2017



Homeland grant brings smoke inhallation survival kits to Ulster firefighters

Hein (podium): "We are committed ..."

BLOOMINGTON – Ulster County officials announced the deployment of 20 CYANOKITs for the treatment of smoke inhalation.

County Executive Michael Hein was joined at the Bloomington Firehouse on Tuesday by County Emergency Management/Services Director Steve Peterson, Health Commissioner Dr. Carol Smith, plus local fire chiefs and first responders, to announce the devices.

Administered intravenously, the drug, hydroxo-cobalamin, binds deadly cyanide with Vitamin B12 inside the human body to help eliminate toxic exposure from smoke and other noxious vapors emitted during structural fires.

Hein said that the availability of on-site CYANOKITs can increase survival rates for smoke inhalation by 74 percent.               

 “Many communities do not have this," Hein said. "It does exist in large cities, but in most rural places, it might be 20 minutes or a half hour for someone to get to a hospital. We are committed to designing this model that can work not just here in Ulster County, but open it up, so counties across Upstate New York can replicate this, and save more people’s lives.”

Costing about $1,000 apiece, the kits, which require a paramedic or doctor to administer, were traditionally kept only in hospitals. A discretionary Homeland Security grant allows 20 CYANOKITs to be deployed among the 49 Ulster County fire departments, Fire coordinators and their deputies will each have a kit issued, plus selected ambulance crews.

West Hurley Fire Chief Dave Gutierrez called the initiative a breath of fresh air. “I had to call for a cyanide kit a little over a year and a half ago. I was told it was 45 minutes away.” Gutierrez said that the kits, due to be deployed by January, will make a great new tool for local first responders.

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