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Emergency and Natural Disasters: How Prepared are We? 8 hours

new course

Most jails and correctional facilities are not prepared to respond to and recover from disasters and emergencies. Inmates are often vulnerable and require protection and management. Correctional deputies, officers, and other staff are required to respond to these emergencies by becoming on-site first-responders. This frequently places them in dangerous situations, as they attempt to protect inmates and staff from the aftermath of a disaster or an emergency. With a majority of correctional facilities facing limited funding, lack of resources, staffing shortages, and failing or aging buildings, emergency management planning is an important topic to reduce injuries and loss of life in the event of an emergency or natural disaster. Planning for natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, fires, and earthquakes may appear to be a daunting process. Other emergencies such as active shooters, terrorism attacks, and bomb threats are also a grave concern. The fact is this: correctional facilities may often be highly adept at dealing with internal emergencies. However, there are external events that agencies may not be adequately prepared to handle. This course provides a better understanding of why correctional facilities are not adequately prepared and why they should be included in any governmental emergency preparedness planning. There should be consideration given to short-term and long-term impacts of disasters including contingency planning, gathering of resources, and carrying out necessary protective actions during recovery from disasters.

There are a number of constitutional and legal requirements that dictate the laws around the treatment and care of prisoners. This process becomes vital during and after a disaster in which inmates are vulnerable due to medical and mental health issues. Additionally, correctional agencies need to remain aware of their own public safety function to ensure that their departments protect the public from offenders during the aftermath of an emergency. The course examines some of these legal concerns and includes exercises related to preparing for and addressing various types of emergencies and disasters.