Disaster Preparedness: How an Effective Plan Between Custody and Health Services Can Make all the Difference

Disaster Preparedness: How an Effective Plan Between Custody and Health Services Can Make all the Difference
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2020-07-30
Unit 1 Slide Deck: Disaster Preparedness
Unit 2 Transcript - Disaster Preparedness
Unit 3 Workbook: Disaster Preparedness
Unit 4 Recording: Disaster Preparedness

Preparing for critical incidents – not so easy. How to make it even more challenging? Make the setting be a jail. This is exactly what happens in the scenario Jim Martin shares to make a case for the value of emergency response plans.

Jim Martin has more than 20 years in the law enforcement arena where he’s worked in various roles and units. He is currently the Vice President of Program Development with the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC).

Focusing on a fire that broke out in the county jail back in 2004, he recounts details of the event, as well as challenges and lessons learned from this incident.

  • A brief backgrounder on the critical incident – how the fire broke out from the third floor at 10 AM in the county jail.
  • The importance of taking proper ingress and egress into account to ensure all vehicles responding to the incident can come and leave as needed without interruptions.
  • How overcrowding can aggravate the existing challenges in critical incidents and emergency response.
  • The critical role of the on-duty health care provider by securing needed emergency equipment, establishing a triaging area, and triggering contact of partner agencies for back up.
  • How an updated roster of the facility population proves itself handy in tracking the inmates amidst all the chaos brought by the fire.
  • The importance of identifying various potential accessible evacuation areas.
  • Why effective communication is more valuable than use of force in such instances to earn cooperation and trust.
  • Guidelines on maintaining the security of the inmate population as they are being moved from one area to another.
  • A glimpse into the triage procedure and how effective emergency planning allowed to provide those injured or needing medical attention to get the service they need.
  • Other medical conditions taken into account that while non-urgent must be addressed to prevent escalation into medical emergencies.
  • Paying attention to timeframes for response in planning to have an idea of how long before backing up arrives.
  • The basic needs to secure and provide to the evacuees.
  • Post-event rehabilitation and other health and logistical consideration to make processes run more smoothly.
  • The importance of:
    • Paying close attention to potential hints that something may be bound to happen.
    • Being wary of things that may serve as fire hazards in a jail setting.
    • Preparation through emergency response planning.
    • Conducting mass disasters and man-down drills – in all buildings, including satellite facilities.
    • Complying with NCCHC accreditation standards for emergency response.
    • Including health care staff in the planning, drills, and reviews.
    • Documenting the outcomes of drills conducted to help with better planning and execution.

Questions from the webinar participants were about:

  • The types of drills/scenarios to conduct/include.
  • Assistance from not-for-profit organizations.
  • Conducting after-action reviews and assessing and updating the response plans.
  • How the response would have been affected if the incident took place in the COVID world?
  • Cross-training deputies with Tactical Emergency Medical/First Aid Training


Handouts and Resources


Audience Comments

  • “Very informative, I learned even more about small details that make a huge difference in uncanny situations.” — Aisha
  • “That emergency planning/drills be across all associates in the agency (medical, correctional, law enforcement, court personnel).” — Robert
  • “Good presentation. Good presenter – lots of good information!!” — Carrie
  • “I liked that it was related to an actual incident.” — Dorie
  •  “How different populations of people require different plans. Not one disaster plan fits all agencies. One must use their creative skills to enhance the skills of their staff and the population they will be working with.” — JP
  • “The presenter used an actual event to highlight the importance of having a viable mass disaster plan.” — Dr. James



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