Federal Guidelines Revamped: Safety Stations to Include Naloxone and Hemorrhagic Control in Addition to Defibrillators

federal government

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) have announced a significant update to the safety guidelines for federal facilities, marking the first such revision in the past 15 years. The revised guidelines expand the previous recommendation of having automated external defibrillators (AED) at these facilities to also include opioid reversal agents such as naloxone and hemorrhagic control methods like Stop the Bleed® (STB).

The updated guidelines aim to ensure that life-saving tools are readily accessible within federal buildings. The inclusion of naloxone, an opioid reversal medication, is particularly timely considering the ongoing opioid crisis in the country. With the ability to reverse overdoses, including those involving fentanyl, naloxone has become a staple in many schools, libraries, and community institutions.

Similarly, hemorrhagic control methods such as STB provide immediate post-injury care for bleeding emergencies, which could be vital in various situations including workplace accidents.

HHS Assistant Secretary for Health ADM Rachel L. Levine said, “An emergency can happen in any setting, including our workplaces. We all need to be prepared to save a life anytime, anywhere.” She further stated that the updated guidelines reflect the best available science and a collective response from the federal family.

The revised guidelines introduce the concept of a “safety station,” a location within a federal facility equipped with the necessary tools to respond to an emergency situation swiftly. These stations are expected to include an AED and supporting equipment at a minimum. However, it is now highly recommended that each station also includes either a bystander-empowered opioid reversal agent or a hemorrhagic control component, or both.

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Krystal Brumfield, GSA Associate Administrator for Government-wide Policy and the agency’s Chief Acquisition Officer, noted that the updated safety stations could make a critical difference in emergencies. She added that the federal partnership provides a framework for expanding access to life-saving equipment in federal facilities and offers resources to develop and maintain these safety stations.

The new guidelines aim to provide a general framework for establishing safety station programs in federal facilities. They also aim to familiarize federal agencies with the three modular bystander-empowered components associated with such a program.

The design of a safety station program will depend on various factors, including the population demographics of the facility, the size and location of the facility, and the surrounding area. While the program is voluntary and not mandatory, the costs and expenses to establish and operate it are the responsibility of the federal agencies sponsoring the program. This move marks a significant step towards creating safer workplaces and public spaces within federal facilities, potentially saving countless lives in emergency situations.

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