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by the NFCC


Places of lawful detention

Hazard Knowledge

Lawful detention facilities are likely to contain detainees, visitors and staff. Detainees of lawful detention facilities may behave unpredictably and show verbal or physical hostility to personnel.

It is not the responsibility for fire and rescue services to deal with disturbances, but they may be required to control other hazards during disturbances. Any fire and rescue service activity during a period of concerted indiscipline or unrest should be restricted to agreements or memorandum of understanding made with the place of lawful detention, and follow service procedure. For further information refer to Public disorder.

Potential hazards include: 

  • Attempts to ambush or take fire and rescue service personnel hostage 
  • Fire-setting 
  • Biological hazards, ‘dirty protests’ or drug paraphernalia 
  • Missiles being thrown at fire and rescue service personnel or vehicles 
  • Theft of fire and rescue service equipment or vehicles 
  • Concerted indiscipline, riots or sieges 
  • Whistle signals for the withdrawal or evacuation of fire and rescue service personnel may be confused with signals used by the place of lawful detention

The security features and special entry procedures at places of lawful detention may delay response times and could cause personnel to become isolated. For more information see Security features.