We posted an article a few months ago about women prisoners being locked in fire traps. You can read it by clicking here. We have been investigating fire safety in Perryville since then and what we find is shocking!
There are no fire alarms in many of the buildings, the ones built in the early ’70s, before fire codes. In case of a fire, the guard calls the administration office on a walkie talkie to report the fire.
A guard was asked, “Do you have a fire alarm?” The guard searched the office and replied that “There’s a red lever here, but I’m not sure what it does.” There are alarms in the administration area, but whenever the wind blows hard they go off, so in general, they are ignored.
In the units at night, if there is a fire or emergency, the inmates in the affected pod start pounding on their door, the next pod picks it up and pounds, and so on down the line until the noise alerts the guard in the office. The guard then physically walks back following the noise to find out what the problem is.
Not exactly a rapid response system to what could be a rapidly spreading emergency.