Clark County tracking access to controlled substances
- By Andy Hilverda
- Sep 01, 2010
Clark County has the largest fire department in the state of Nevada.
They provide emergency services to an area encompassing
7,910 square miles that includes the Las Vegas Strip, a large portion
of the Las Vegas Valley and neighboring resort townships.
The department also maintains one of our nation’s urban
search and rescue teams. This busy fire department’s 29 paid fire stations and 13
volunteer fire stations responded to 122,111 incidents in 2008.
“We are required to have a system of checks and balances in place that would
provide an account of the handling of all controlled substances on medical calls,”
said Jeff Reagor, Clark County Fire Department EMS supervisor. “It’s imperative
we provide accountability for the drugs we use. Clark County F.D. needed a system
that would allow them to know when their narcotic safes were being accessed and
After researching available products, they found that CyberLock offered the
“With CyberLock, we could gain tight key control and the ability to track how
many times and when our narcotic safes were being opened,” Reagor said. “We
saw this as a good way to have accountability with our narcotics handling.”
Deputy Chief Russ Cameron, chief of the department’s Fire and EMS Training
Program, obtained the funding for the CyberLock system, and in May 2008, they
began installing CyberLocks on their narcotic safes.
“We worked closely with A&B Security, a Las Vegas access control and security
company,” Reagor said. “Their people came on site and gave us the support we
required to install and manage the CyberLock system.”
Each time Clark County F.D. gets a new rescue unit, their mechanics install a
narcotic safe on board. The safe is secured in the unit with titanium hardware and
fitted with a CyberLock in a matter of minutes. The unit number, a unit identifier and the fire station it is assigned to are entered into the CyberLock system
software before delivering the rescue unit to the appropriate fire station. Extra
electronic keys are stored in a secured centralized location so a key can be activated
whenever the department receives a new rescue unit.
To date, Clark County has installed CyberLocks on safes in the fire stations,
on rescue unit safes and on safes in engine company vehicles. The department’s
reserve fleet of five rescue vehicles, eight engines and two ladder trucks also is
equipped with a narcotic safe that has been fitted with a CyberLock.
“In the event we need to use one of the reserve fleet vehicles, the CyberLock
software allows us to quickly program an electronic key on-the-fly to access that
particular unit’s safe,” Reagor said.
When a rescue vehicle is taken out of service, involved in an accident or disabled
in some manner, the narcotics are immediately removed from that unit’s safe.
They are secured in the fire station safe until the department receives a replacement
Imad Bachir, the department’s systems specialist, was instrumental in interfacing
the CyberLock software with Clark County’s computer network. The integration
of the two systems went smoothly, and they work together seamlessly. The
CyberLock software runs on each fire station’s office computer.
“The electronic locks and keys record openings and unauthorized attempts to enter,
so at any time an EMS supervisor can pull up a log of events in the software
and see when a narcotics safe has been opened and by whom,” Reagor said. “The
audit report the CyberLock software provides is of utmost importance to us.”
Overseeing all of Clark County’s EMS operations, Troy Tuke, EMS coordinator,
also is involved in the audit process for the department’s controlled substances.
Each EMS supervisor is responsible for managing the CyberLock System for his
or her assigned platoon.
One key is issued for each rescue unit that has a paramedic onboard, and one
individual is assigned responsibility for that key. The EMS supervisor can look at
the audit report to see if that responsible person is checking drug expiration dates,
taking inventory and ensuring that the drugs have not been tampered with. This
is done during morning shift changes every day. If the EMS supervisor sees that a
safe has been opened any other time of the day, it must correspond with an emergency
call. If there is a discrepancy, the EMS supervisor would immediately report
this to the EMS coordinator for further action.
If an electronic key is lost, the EMS supervisor can access the system and deactivate
the key. A new key can then be assigned to that rescue unit. If someone
tries to open a safe without authorization, the safe’s lock will not open and the key
will alarm. Also, there will be a record of that person’s key being denied entry to
The software generates a monthly report of narcotics safe and electronic key
activity from all department units. If an individual is not compliant, the department
takes aggressive steps to make sure they conform.
“Our QA director and medical director have been extremely pleased with the
CyberLock system because it has reinforced accountability, and the detailed information
it provides is invaluable,” Reagor said. “We are always looking for effective
solutions that allow us to expand and improve our services to the people who live
in or visit our communities. Implementing CyberLock to more efficiently manage
the handling of our controlled substances has been a great
decision for us. As the Las Vegas area grows and the need for
services and protection increases, Clark County Fire Department
is poised to meet those needs.”
This article originally appeared in the September 2010 issue of Security Today.