Narcotics chain of custody


Forum Ride Along
I was wondering if anybody knew the laws in Florida as pertains to Narcotic chain of custody. In my fire dept we have a spare truck at the station that is always in a ready to go state. One of the Medics at the station on shift for the day takes the keys to the narcotic safe and signs for the inventory of the narcotics in the log on the truck. The safe remains locked and the medic holds the keys. If I'm on a call and that spare truck needs to go out on another call, somebody else takes the truck to the call with the narc book and safe. Is that allowed? The safe remains locked and they can't use the narcs but now the truck is gone and I hold the keys. Is there a chain of custody law being broken? Thanks for any input anyone might have.


Earl of the Wheeled Chair
I don’t think there’s a break there, you’re not ordinarily in the thing. Would be easier though to have the spare narcs in a secured area at station so anyone authorized could get them.


Community Leader
That should be a relatively unusual situation, but... I would think that while the operator of the apparatus has control of it, since the narcotics are in a secured cabinet and someone else has the keys and is the only person authorized to gain entry to that cabinet, the "custody" of the narcotics doesn't change. If it's you, the keys are still in your possession and those narcotics cannot be accessed without you there, regardless of where the apparatus is. Where things get "interesting" is should the narcotics go missing (or are otherwise unaccounted for), part of the determination of who is "responsible" will be who had possession of the keys, whether there was damage to the lock box, if it was potentially picked, and who had physical possession/control over the apparatus that the lock box was contained within. Under the system you operate under, everyone at the station that day is a suspect initially.


Forum Lieutenant
I’m surprised you’re using keys still. We were as antiquated as you could get back when I started and we converted to individual combo safes years ago. We have safes in our Medic Units that are identical to the safes for back up trucks inside our stations. Every Paramedic has a unique 6 digit number that they enter to open the safe and the safe records the time and # of the Paramedic that opens it. There’s also a drug log that we fill out etc.

I don’t know FL laws but I believe the Federal Law is that you have to have them secured in a locked safe and that safe has to be secured in a locked unit or building.


Forum Knucklehead
This is why we have Knox Boxes in our station. Each medic had a number to open the safe and you need two numbers to open it to pull narcs. If your truck is out of service/not staffed the narcs go into the box. Any medic crew can pull the narcs for a job


EMS Coordinator
While it's not a great idea, I doubt it veers into any serious trouble. As long as you guys can demonstrate that only authorized personnel have access to the narcs (in this case, the key which is in the possession of the medic), you should be fine.

With that said, unless this truck is a cross manned second piece, I don't see the value in FULLY stocking a back-up truck. This can be costly with the purchase of extra medications which will likely expire as well of questions regarding narcotics, as above.

We keep our backup truck stocked with everything but drugs and the monitor. Very quick and easy to switch out..