Surrey’s fire department turning to technology to fight opioid crisis

It’s being called a ‘game changer’ in the fight against the opioid overdose crisis.

The city of Surrey has developed software that looks at data from dispatch calls in real time for signs of overdose ‘clusters.’

LISTEN: Could Surrey’s ‘game changing’ overdose tracking software help with the crisis across B.C.?

The software issues email alerts to first responders if there are lots of overdoses in the same area in a short time period.

Surrey’s fire chief Len Garis says it’s a first for North America.

“It’s as a close to a game changer as we could possibly get at this point in time.”

Garis says first responders will be able to respond more quickly and effectively when clusters of overdoses take place and in the end, will save more lives.

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“It could be the difference between a five minute and ten minute response time.”

Surrey firefighters last year were called out to an average of 7.5 overdoses a day.

Last year, 335 overdose deaths were reported in Vancouver.