SASKATOON -- The Saskatoon Fire Department has added a new medication to its emergency response kit - Penthrox, a non-opioid gaseous drug used for pain relief.

The medication can be administered through an inhaler to treat people experiencing moderate to severe pain associated with trauma. The addition of this medicine to the response kit came as a result of a joint effort with the Saskatchewan College of Paramedics protocols.

The SFD has received just over 14,000 calls to date this year, with roughly 40 per cent requiring emergency medical care.

“It's very significant, as I mentioned earlier working in that hot zone,” Battalion Chief Len Protz said. “In a situation where somebody is not able to move, having that ability to be able to give something that is a non-opioid, to reduce the pain, again anybody who's in a significant amount of pain, you want to have that quick acting availability to release or reduce the pain.”

The fire department first introduced emergency medical technicians in 1990 and now has over 140 firefighter-primary care paramedics working in the city.

The SFD says treatments and medication administered by firefighter-paramedics have grown over the last 30 years, including the introduction of the automated external defibrillator in the mid-1990s and Naloxone in 2017.