LFR task force to help with lock-down responses

Posted by: Abigail Wood


Any time firefighters respond to a scene, there’s the possibility of danger. But in situations like Monday night’s fire at the Lincoln Correctional Center, those risks are higher. 

"In lock down facilities we have to look at not just the victim but who is around the victim, where’s the smoke going, where is it going to impact next. Is our vehicle secure, personnel secure?" explained Lincoln Fire and Rescue Chief Michael Despain. "We don’t want to become part of the problem."

The state fire marshal is still investigating what started the fire Monday night. LFR was on the scene right away, but it still took seven to eight minutes to get through security to reach the source of the flames.

"So the first units were on scene within five minutes, but it’s just how long does it take to get through the infrastructure to where do they need to be; where do they need to put water on the fire?" Despain said.

Those are precious minutes. Luckily, LFR says Monday’s fire was small, and by the time they got there staff already had it out. Only two inmates were hurt by the smoke, and they were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. A few weeks ago, after responding to a long list of lock down incidents, LFR put together a task force with key battalion chiefs and correctional facility leaders. They’re trying to make responses easier in correctional centers.

"There’s a lot more attention, and I think the risk is a little more significant right now, so I think that’s why we’re addressing in the task force model where we have a lot of people looking at it; clearing their calendars to make this a priority," Despain added.

They’re talking about practical things like what entrances are safest, how to make it easier to get to patients, and who between the agencies would direct the show in the event of an emergency.