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How a local police department is protecting officers from accidental overdoses

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RICHMOND, Va. -- When three nurses at an Ohio hospital treated a patient overdosing on what they believed to be extremely potent and frequently lethal fentanyl, they became exposed themselves.

"They were cleaning up the room and started to feel sick and that left them waking up lying in a hospital bed basically," Detective Shaun Dadisman with the Massillon Police Department said.

The nurses received doses of the overdose reversal drug Narcan and recovered, but the incident, along with several others like it across the country, highlights a new issue facing first responders and medical professionals.

In June, the feds issued a warning to law enforcement and first responders to wear gloves, masks and even shoe covering at potential drug scenes.

"This is an added danger we've got to look out for," Lieutenant Emanuel Chambliss with the Petersburg Police Department said.

Lt. Chambliss said command staff at the Petersburg Police Department started discussing the issue a couple of weeks ago, and they will partner with the Health Department and a private provider, who will give the overdose reversal drug Naloxone to officers so they can use it to save another officer's life.

"By the end of the month we're going to have all of our officers trained in the use of those devices," Chambliss said.

Petersburg Police plan to also buy new gloves to protect officers because fentanyl can seep through normal clothes.

"We've got families that we want to go home to and we're going to do everything we can to protect our officers so they can go home to their loved ones," Chambliss said.

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