Local law enforcement will have a new tool on hand to help people having a medical emergency.
Kris Maynard, owner of the company Glucose Revival and a firefighter at Fairchild Air Force Base, donated 220 blood sugar kits to local law enforcement on Thursday, in hopes of equipping every police officer and deputy with the tools they need to save a diabetic person’s life.
Maynard said he was inspired to donate the kits by an incident he had with law enforcement about 10 years ago. Maynard, who has diabetes, said a sheriff’s deputy stopped him believing he was drunk, when he was actually having a low blood sugar episode. He said the deputy tried to help him, but the only thing he had on hand was a diet soda, which doesn’t contain sugar.
At a news conference Thursday, Maynard said low blood sugar emergencies are one of the most common problems diabetics face, and often law enforcement respond to an emergency before EMTs, who are equipped with tools to address an incident.
“Low blood sugar can lead to death, so we want to be able to alleviate that problem as quick as we can so we don’t lose anyone,” he said.
He said around 10% of the population has diabetes, and many may not have anything with them when they could have an episode. He said his family recently learned that his 18-year-old son is also likely to develop diabetes, and he wants to do everything he can to make sure all first responders have whatever they need to appropriately respond to a diabetes emergency.
He donated 200 diabetic emergency kits to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and 20 to the Spokane Police Department. He said he’s hopeful eventually every patrol car in the region will be equipped with a kit. The kit includes a tool similar to a syringe without a needle, which a police officer or deputy can apply directly to a diabetic person’s gums.
The substance is a gel that won’t expire, so officers or deputies can leave it in their cars without worrying about it getting spoiled due to changes in temperatures.
Mike Kittilstved, the undersheriff for unincorporated patrol at the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, said the donation fills a void.
He said he had an incident early in his career where he pulled over a person he thought was intoxicated, but realized they were in diabetic shock. He said medics arrived and were able to save the person, but while he was waiting, he didn’t have anything on hand to help. He said now deputies carry tools like Narcan, a nasal spray that can reverse an opioid overdose, and this is another tool that a deputy can always keep with them when responding to incidents.
“It might be that intervention that can help until medics can get there,” he said.
Sgt. Jay Kernkamp with the Spokane Police Department says both patrol officers and detectives could benefit from having kits, saying there are situations where police are the first on scene and it’s not immediately clear if the emergency is caused by a substance, or diabetes. So having both Narcan and a diabetic kit available will help in those situations.
“I think anything that we can add to our toolbox increases public safety,” he said.
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