So how does the Venom One team work – and why are they credited with changing the way paramedics respond to snakebite emergencies nationwide?
How Venom One Got Its BiteCaptain Al Cruz founded Miami-Dade's Venom Response Program team in July 1998 after responding to a poisonous snake bite incident. Cruiz is a firefighter and paramedic who saw the need for a highly engaged team of trained professionals to handle the large number of snakebites and other emergencies associated with venomous snakes. As Miami-Dade County is home to a large number of deadly snakes – and is also a favored port of entry for illegal snake smuggling – the need for a specialized team became crucial. As such, the Venom One Response Team is the only organization in the United States that’s specifically trained to deal with venomous snakes and snakebite emergencies.
In the United States, it’s estimated that over 1,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes each year – and a quarter of those cases are in southern Florida alone. Only about a third of these bites are received in the snake’s natural habitat during hunting and hiking expeditions. The remainder are called when people are handling poisonous snakes intentionally. For some reason, young men are much more likely than women to receive a poisonous snakebite. If you care to speculate on the reasons why, feel free to leave a comment!
In addition to being the only snakebite response team in America, Venom One also holds another unique honor: its collection of antivenoms is one of the most extensive in the world. As operators at the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Antivenom Bank, the Venom One team has access to 25 different antidotes that can treat venomous snakebites from approximately 95% of the world’s snake population. If you’re interested in more detail, the Venom One website provides a complete list of covered species. In fact, the Venom One response team has been called on for emergencies in Canada, Mexico and even across the world in French Guyana.