The current state of affairs when it comes to intruders – even armed – in schools is simply abhorrent. At a time like this, it is essential for schools to be completely prepared to face a threat that is posed by an emergency situation of an intruder inside the schools and this is where we at DMAC Security come in.
Here is what to do during a School Lockdown
We have compiled a set of School Lockdown Procedures that schools should be prepared to follow in order to isolate students, faculty and members of the staff from the risk that has caused the school lockdown. A lockdown in important to remove students and faculty from the threat, isolate the dangerous situation from most of the school and to allow for a proper counting of students in each room. Most importantly, these procedures will help in facilitating an organized evacuation depending on the situation.
There are two main lockdown situations. The first is a lockdown with a warning, where the threat is outside the school building, and the second is a lockdown with an intruder, where the threat or intruder is within the building of the school.
Lockdown with Warning
The first set of procedures are for situations where the threat is outside the school building. The lockdown is initiated when the building administrator announces “lockdown with warning” directly, without using any codes. The announcement will be repeated a number of times.
All members of the faculty must be able to hear the announcement and an alternate lockdown location must be identified. It is important that all the classes that are outside the main building are given extra attention in such a situation.
The exterior doors of the building must be locked and the hallways, restrooms or any other rooms that cannot be secured must be cleared. Within each classroom, all the windows should be secured and covered and all people should be moved away from the windows.
The staff must check the attendance of students in every classroom and prepare a list of missing or extra students in the room. The list should be taken by the teachers once they are directed to leave the classroom.
All the movement in the school must be controlled but classes should continue. The bells in the building should be disabled and any movement must be carried out only on announcement. The building administrator will announce “all clear” once the threat has subsided.
Lockdown with Intruder
The situation will be very different in case there is a threat of an intruder within the school building. First, the building administrator will announce “lockdown with intruder” directly, without using any codes. The announcement will be repeated several times. On hearing this announcement, all students, staff and visitors in the building are required to move to the nearest classroom or secured space. If there are classes outside the building, they should not try to enter inside. Instead, they should be moved to the primary evacuation site.
It is important to lock all classroom doors but not the exterior doors. All people needed to stay away from windows and doors, with all students sitting on the floor with the lights turned off. Staff should take attendance of the students in all classrooms, noting down all the missing or extra students in the room. As was the case in the other lockdown, the list should be taken with them once they are told to leave the classroom.
It is very important to note that no one should respond to anyone at the door till the “all clear” signal is given. Stay out of sight and prepare to ignore any fire alarm activation. In the situation of a lockdown with intruder, the school will not use this method for evacuation.
When the students are finally instructed to move out of the classroom, they should move as quickly and quietly as possible. The building administrator is required to announce “all clear” when the threat is over, or the intruder has left the building.
Special Considerations for Specific Situations
While the usual procedures have been discussed before, there are also some considerations that have to be kept in mind for different situations. For example, if the lockdown is initiated before school starts, the steps will be different from what they would be if the lockdown is put in place during passing periods or during after-school activities.
Procedure If Lockdown Is Initiated Prior to School Starting
The staff must start off by getting all students from the hallways into the classrooms or other rooms. Similarly, all the preschool activities leaders should gather their students and report attendance.
The administration staff along with the custodial staff should ensure that the hallways and exterior of the building are empty. An individual must be posted at the drop-off location so that parents and children are warned. The staff must proceed to take attendance of the students in their classrooms.
After receiving an “all clear” signal, students should report to their homeroom or first class of the day to take attendance.
Procedure If Lockdown Is Initiated During Passing Periods
The staff must gather all students from the hallways into their classrooms or other rooms. Similarly, the administration and custodial staff should check the hallways and exterior of the building to ensure that they are clear. The staff must take attendance in their room and only after receiving an “all clear” signal should students report to their homeroom or next class to get 100% attendance.
Procedure If Lockdown Is Initiated During after School Activities
This situation is different from the others as the event leaders are required to gather all the students and take attendance. As was the case in the others, the administration staff or custodial staff will be required to check the hallways and other rooms.
Keep in mind that despite the procedures recommended above, there are some threats that can override regular lockdown procedures. Examples of these are a confirmed fire or the presence of an intruder in a classroom. A lockdown can also be put in place to keep people away from areas where there is a medical emergency or problem.
Remember, the point of a School Lockdown Procedure is to Stay Safe
While these standard procedures for a school lockdown should help you to deal with any type of emergency, it is highly recommended that you contact the local law enforcement and state emergency management agencies so that they can provide you with all the assistance required for developing a proper crisis preparedness program for your school.