One of the most, if not the most, dangerous situations in a correctional setting is a fire. Our nation’s correctional facilities, for the most part, are constructed of steel, concrete and bricks. Windows either do not open or are designed to open very little due to security concerns and our mandate of providing public safety. Natural ventilation is greatly reduced. As a result of these building designs, what we have is either a chimney or an oven that we work in.
There are safeguards built in with the building design such as sprinklers and hose reels/fire hoses as well as fire extinguishers available for use throughout the facilities and it is imperative that we know not only where they are located, but how to use them effectively as well.
A fire that starts in one area of a correctional facility can spread relatively slowly based on the location and fuel available, but the smoke will spread much faster. Those that have perished as a result of a fire in a correctional facility have not died from burning, but from smoke inhalation.