After the Webinar: Disaster Preparedness. Q&A with Jim Martin

Webinar presenter Jim Martin answered a number of your questions after his presentation, Disaster Preparedness: How an Effective Plan between Custody and Health Services Can Make All the Difference. Here are just a few of his responses.


Audience Question: What kind of drills do you recommend that people prepare for? What kind of mass disaster scenarios do you recommend people prepare for? 

Jim Martin: That’s great. So, from a mass disaster, when you’re going to have the potential to have mass casualties or disruption. The evacuations is an awesome one. You know, I know it’s hard to envision, okay, I’m not going to use real inmates as my evacuees. But you can. I mean, if you’ve got low-level offenders, if you’ve got community corrections, if you’ve got inmate workers who you already show a little bit extra confidence in their cooperation, you can use them. And how would you evacuate a building? And what would it take? You’re going to find a lot of lessons for that. So, evacuations a good one, from a man-down drill. It’s always going to be like a seizure activity or had a heart attack. You know, some sort of medical that you’re going to have to provide emergency first responder type of care. Again, from those within the correction facilities, the correction officers are going to be your first responders, before the health can get all the way through all the doors and that’s part of that timeliness. So, anything that’s going to require the ABCs of first aid or if you’re going to do CPR. I think another very good ones when I highlight it is you’re doing the situation. If someone is doing self-harm, what are you going to do on suicide precautions. There are certain techniques, you just don’t cut the rope or the sheet it around the neck, you cut it above, so its first year also preserving evidence. So, it’s those kinds of things that are going to be mass movements, or something that’s going to require an investigation as well. You know, it never hurts just to do the basic things. Start small and work out from it.



Audience Question: Did any not-for-profit organizations assist after the fire, after you’ve experienced the fires, you know, organizations like Red Cross, Salvation Army, things like that? 

Jim Martin: Fortunately, we didn’t have to use Red Cross. We do have a Red Cross chapter. In our location. We could have used them. We didn’t need that. We did use parks department so not necessarily a non-profit that it’s a city entity. We utilized their barricades, we utilized their coolers for water and cups and things of that nature. Cities are their own little infrastructure to begin with, so utilize some of those city and county agencies that can help you, but they were alerted. They were on standby if we needed them and it would have been for any typical rehab that a Red Cross would provide during storms and things of that nature. We certainly use them during the tornado. They were an integral part of the care during that disaster. Unfortunately, we’ve had several large-scale incidents in our community, and those are great, it is a great opportunity to bring them in into your planning of what could you provide us in the need. I wish I would have included our community mental health providers during that fire. Because we did have inmates that have special mental health needs and whenever you throw them into a situation that’s going to be more anxiety-related that could alter their persona. And I didn’t have that kind of support, and I wish I would have.



Audience Question: How do you recommend that we conduct after-action reviews and review the response plan after both disaster drills and after an actual mass disaster incident? 

Jim Martin: Great question. If you’re in a jail or prison facility and you have a roll call before the shift goes to their designated, that’s always a great place to kind of do that after-action. We always had kind of a hot wash right after the event. We would gather people in our training room or a roll call room, wherever it is, and take down some of the initial things, and we get would give them documents to say, write down what you did. What would you do? How did it go? What would you do better? What are some ideas? Staff meetings, shift meetings. Our healthcare representatives were in our administrative staff meetings. We talked about them there and then you break out to your smaller groups and make sure that you’re sharing it in your weekly staff meeting, monthly staff meeting, whatever the case may be, those are the best ones that I can think of.



Audience Question: Given what we know about COVID, if this disaster occurred today, what would you have done differently? 

Jim Martin: Given COVID today, after the movements, we would have probably quarantined everybody because you weren’t now integrating people who were not in the same cells together. That would have been my initial thing. If testing is available, rapid testing we certainly would utilize those opportunities. But, it’s sometimes, it’s hard to come by, especially in, today, when you are, there’s a shortage in the communities, anyway. If this had happened in COVID and if we were prepared because of COVID utilizing the face mask and barriers. It would be nice. I think, from a chronic care disease, you need it. We would want to keep compromised health patients inmates away from the general population that could transmit an exposure. That those were things that I would want to think about and try to do.



Audience Question: Do you cross-train your deputy’s on TEMS Tactical Emergency Medical? 

Jim Martin: Towards the end of my career, we had a few that started to do that. I know that if we need our tactical team, we partner with our city police department, they are trained in that those kinds of techniques and systems. It might not be the exact one that you named, but they were carrying the tourniquets, you know, all of our officers carry tourniquets now, that that’s would be a small component of that. We certainly do all of our Emergency First aid training, like most law enforcement agencies do, but our tactical teams would have a more either they will have a paramedic or an EMT on their team, or they would have that basic stuff. I know as a canine handler I, all of our canine handlers went through some sort of canine emergency first aid, so dependent on what their assignment was, but I highly recommend it. It’s great training. And anytime that you can cross-train from a different lens, it’s going to make you more valuable to your overall team. But great question and a great suggestion.


Click Here to Watch a Recording of Disaster Preparedness: How an Effective Plan between Custody and Health Services Can Make All the Difference.



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