N.C. Department of Correction--Correction News--April 1998

Officers Learn to Maneuver in Smoke-Filled Rooms

WILMINGTON - An inmate sets a mattress on fire inside a dormitory. Within a matter of seconds the entire room is filled with smoke. Inmates and correction staff flee the room, but some do not make it. The fire department has been called, but it could be 10 minutes or more before help arrives. What do you do?

Staff at New Hanover Correctional Center are prepared to handle such situations. Thirteen staff members recently underwent Scott Air Pack training, preparing them to act as first responders until emergency personnel can arrive.

Scott Air Pack training is part of the CPR and fire protection training required annually by the department. Scott Air Packs are self-breathing apparatuses used by fire fighters and other emergency personnel, enabling them to enter smoke-filled rooms and buildings.

The training covered everything from different types of fires and fuel sources to the proper use of the Scott Air Packs and various rescue techniques.

Sgt. Robert Barnhill said the most useful element of the training was the hands-on portion where officers were given the opportunity to practice what they learned in a realistic setting. With the lights off and their masks covered with heavy, gray plastic to simulate the visibility in a smoke-filled room, the participants had to locate and rescue a victim. Tables were used to create walls and rooms, making it much more difficult to locate the victim.

Participants include Ivey Pridgen, Lonnie King, Stan Galloway, Curtis Nixon, Johnny Johnson, John Scheckler, Gordon Stone, Danny Cavenaugh, Gilbert Wayne, Robert Barnhill, Randy Rivenbark, Mae McAllister and Michelle Williams.

NC DOC Correction News- April 1998
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