Emergency preparedness is a central, even critical, issue for prisons. Effective planning plays a crucial role in the prevention of major emergencies and, more importantly, in containing crisis situations once they emerge; Good planning can also lead to early intervention that solves small, localized crises before they become serious emergencies that threaten the entire institution.
The lack of effective preparedness for emergencies can, if a large scale crisis occur, make it worse than necessary. No penitentiary is immune to large-scale emergencies. A hostage situation (perhaps the prison crisis requiring the most sophisticated response) can occur at any correctional facility, but with good planning, some situations (planned disturbances, fires, hostage situation) may not come to occur.
If a correctional facility does not have the level of emergency preparedness it wants or needs, staff assessment and training is the first essential step, starting with fire prevention and fire fighting systems, assignment and contact with Corrective emergency response or special forces team, training of emergency negotiators, and communication and coordination with external emergency services to coordinate action plans according to defined protocols.