MINERVA, Ohio — We’ve heard a lot of talk about PPE, or personal protective equipment, over the last couple years. Now, a Northeast Ohio company has created the first ever FDA-approved gloves for first responders that is designed to protect them from fentanyl and other opioids when they arrive at a scene.
Back in 2018 in Chillicothe, a total of 29 people got sick at Ross Correctional Institution, including 23 corrections officers and four workers. The suspected culprit? A fentanyl overdose caused by an inmate.
First responders come face to face with the opioid epidemic every day.
"Two days ago, we had six overdoses in one day. And it’s getting like that every day," says Canton Fire Chief Steve Henderson.
So Henderson has ensured that his staff is protected with the proper PPE.
"If you’re in an area with heroin or fentanyl or morphine, you do want to double glove. Our typical gloves are a single layer," Henderson explains.
Aside from regular gloves, Henderson's team has access to specialized gloves made by PH&S Products out of Minerva. The company has created a specialized glove that protects against fentanyl and other substances for up to four hours. It's the first of its kind to be approved by the FDA after lab testing last month.
"And they exposed that for 240 minutes of the same type of testing they do for chemotherapy. And we had no penetration," says Jim Hull, president of PH&S Products.
The gloves also have a green interior that makes them easy to distinguish from others. The green color shows on the outside if the glove is ever compromised. It provides extra peace of mind for first responders.
"Any endorsement like that with the proper testing gives you a warm and fuzzy about the PPE," says Henderson.
"What’s happening in our country today with the opioid overdoses and the amount of opioids, this product serves a good need within the first responders market," Hull adds.
The gloves are already being used by first responders and hospitals around the country, including Canton Fire, Strongsville Police, and Mercy Hospital staff in Stark County.
It's a helpful solution to a growing problem.