Beach EMS crews stepping up security after drugs stolen from ambulances, hospital

Posted at 7:30 PM, Apr 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-14 19:30:34-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - How Virginia Beach Emergency Medical Services (EMS) crews carry medications on ambulances is now in question and officials are stepping up security.

The security changes come after a report last week.

Police say a pharmacy technician noticed Morphine, Valium and other drugs missing from a locker at the Sentara Princess Anne EMS room.

A search warrant details the security procedures for getting a key to one of the lockers in the room. First responders can only do so with the help of an emergency room nurse who must use a personal password to log into the computer system in order to obtain one of those keys. Once inside the EMS room, the search warrant says members can exchange empty or out-of-date medication boxes.

But officials say this is just one of several recent thefts reported.

Last month, first responders reported similar drugs taken from several locked boxes inside parked ambulances at a couple of different fire stations. According to a search warrant, the keys needed to open those boxes are available to many EMS members.

The EMS division chief, Ed Brazle, says there is an ongoing criminal investigation regarding medications carried on EMS vehicles.

In the meantime, Brazle tells NewsChannel 3 ambulance crews can no longer use the drop-off locker system at the hospital to exchange medication kits.

Brazle says crews must now go to the pharmacy to exchange the medication boxes directly with a staff member.