Raising awareness about Fentanyl

If you’ve been reading my column for quite a long time now, you know that sometimes I use this space to preview and expand upon the stories featured in the issue. Other times, I provide my take on industry happenings or the overall industry climate. And then there are times I share a story or announcement that has crossed my desk that I feel might pique your interest or should capture your attention. This column fits into the latter bucket: It’s a message to the hotel community about a mission to raise awareness and provide a much-needed service to those on the front lines at your properties. I received information about a new, groundbreaking program, launched in conjunction with Fentanyl Awareness Day on May 9, the day we’re wrapping up this issue.

According to reports, 2021 saw a record-breaking 70,601 fentanyl-related deaths—and, sadly, this number seems to be growing. Consequently, hotel employees need to understand this crisis and how it may impact them. So, Safety Services Management (SSM), a fentanyl remediation company comprising firefighters, law enforcement and industrial hygienists, just announced the launch of an online training program tailored specifically for the hotel industry. This program is a response to the escalating fentanyl crisis in America and addresses the need for education in the hospitality sector.

The course fills a critical void in education for hotel employees, equipping them with the knowledge necessary to protect themselves and others from the hazards of fentanyl exposure.

The Fentanyl Awareness Training course was crafted by SSM founder Jon Schibsted, a former hazmat firefighter, along with his team of first responders and industry experts. Schibsted’s motivation to develop the course was fueled by two fentanyl exposure incidents. In the first, a housekeeper collapsed and died within minutes after vacuuming a still-contaminated room, leaving behind two young children. And the second occurred at a hotel during a fentanyl cleanup operation for a room where a recreational drug user had fatally overdosed. As the team was working on the cleanup, another individual in a nearby room overdosed and was transported by EMS. Shortly after EMS left, housekeeping began cleaning the room. Schibsted’s team quickly intervened, stopping the housekeeper who was unaware of the hazards of fentanyl contamination.

The online course, developed by the SSM team, centers around illicit fentanyl awareness and cleaning procedures. The program’s focus is to educate hotel staff on the dangers of fentanyl contamination and to minimize the risk of incidents in the workplace. According to SSM, this course is the first in a series of awareness training initiatives that the organization plans to launch for various industries that may come in contact with fentanyl, such as first responders, body shops servicing stolen vehicles, drug-rehab clinics, waste management and schools.

The course includes:

  • a 60-minute, interactive, web-based training module, accessible via mobile or desktop, available in both English and Spanish
  • comprehensive coverage of the history of fentanyl, the various types of fentanyl analogs and the current overdose crisis
  • guidance on identifying fentanyl cutting or pill-press operations, signs of illicit drug use and implementing safety measures
  • optional training on the administration of Naloxone, as well as an overview of Good Samaritan Laws
  • additional training for supervision and their role on how to manage a fentanyl incident
  • a certificate of completion

I think we can all agree that keeping our hotel workers informed and safe is key. To learn more about the Fentanyl Awareness Training course and how you can implement it into your company’s employee offerings, go to safetyservicesmanagement.com.