Franklin County

Officer puts overdose training to work within two hours to save woman

Less than two hours after receiving training on the use of naloxone (sold under the brand name Narcan), a Frankfort police officer administered the opioid antidote Tuesday night and potentially saved the life of a person who was overdosing, said Chief Travis Ellis.

At the start of his 6 p.m. shift, officer Zack Rivers received naloxone training, which included identifying symptoms of an overdose, at the Franklin County Health Department. He put that training to the test at 7:51 p.m., when he and fellow officer Daniel Hodges responded to an overdose at an apartment on Tierra Linda Drive.

“I’ve seen a lot of overdoses, so it was kind of just something I’m used to seeing,” Rivers said, adding that he received similar training two years ago when he was with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

On Tuesday, a bystander had started cardiopulmonary resuscitation on an unresponsive female when Rivers arrived at the scene.

“She was breathing about one breath a minute and her lips were blue,” he said, adding that he summoned EMS and administered naloxone. Within a minute and a half, she started breathing regularly again.

Rivers and the bystander stayed with the woman until an ambulance arrived. She was then transported to Frankfort Regional Medical Center.

Zack Rivers

“Talk about timing,” Ellis said. “She is alive because of the actions taken by officer Rivers.”

This wasn’t Rivers’ first brush with heroism.

In November, he was the first to arrive at an early-morning house fire on Eastover Drive and rescued an elderly woman who was on the floor, just inside the front door. The woman, whose name was not released, was having trouble breathing and could not make it out of her burning home on her own.

Rivers got the woman out of the house, which was a total loss, and stayed with her until an ambulance arrived. After being transported to Frankfort Regional Medical Center, she was taken to the University of Kentucky Medical Center with critical injuries, including thermal burns to her face and smoke inhalation.

Two years earlier, as an FCSO deputy, Rivers rushed into an apartment fire to try to save a young boy who was trapped in a back bedroom. After being stopped by thick smoke and flames, Rivers broke a glass fire extinguisher box and discharged it with no effect.

Rivers stayed inside the Country Hills apartment building, on Schenkel Lane, until breathing became difficult, but was unable to save two-year-old Demetrius Johnson, who later died of smoke inhalation.

When the toddler was brought out by firefighters, Rivers and other deputies assisted Frankfort police in escorting the ambulance to Frankfort Regional Medical Center. Johnson was flown to UK Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

This article is provided via the Kentucky Press News Service.