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Corrections and fire collaboration

Before a fire breaks out, corrections staff and firefighters should pre-plan how to respond

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Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for correctional staff and firefighters. It deals with collaboration and planning before there is a fire or other emergency inside the jail.

Now I’ve never worked in a jail. But I’ve visited quite a few. And I know that jails are pretty hard to get in to. And it’s no coincidence that they are much harder to get out of.

The gates, bars, concrete walls, security glass, and locked doors, and other security features make it difficult for emergency responders to get in. Add smoke or a loss of power to the mix and it gets even harder for firefighters to get where they are needed.

What can be done to help? Let’s start with everyone putting their heads together before a fire breaks out. Corrections staff and firefighters should be talking and working together. Everyone needs to understand one another’s unique goals, perspectives, and needs.

Jail staff needs to maintain security, even during an emergency. Firefighters may need to bring equipment into the jail that would not normally be allowed. Plan, communicate and collaborate now. The time and place for a discussion about jail security is not at the jail entrance during an emergency.

Offer jail tours to firefighters on a regular basis. On all shifts. At all hours.

Include firefighters during planned fire drills in the jail. I know that you are doing fire drills. And some of you are even doing them monthly. That’s great. But let’s invite the people who need to be there most before the next jail fire starts.

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off.

Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.