Best Practices for Campus and School Lockdown Procedures

Crowds walking on college campus

During campus emergencies it's vital that students and faculty are prepared to react quickly.

Recent emergency situations in schools and on school campuses have caused many schools to re-evaluate their lockdown procedures. A school lockdown is issued when there is a threat to students and school staff and faculty members.

Most campuses have different categories of school lockdown procedures. Types of lockdowns include:

  • Shelter-in-Place – Usually an external health hazard where building evacuations are not recommended.
  • Internal Threat – This threat exists when the danger is inside of the school or campus. The goal of this procedure should be to keep everyone safe until the threat is completely removed.
  • External Threat – This type of threat occurs outside of the school building or campus. The goal of this lockdown is to prevent the threat from entering the school or campus.
  • Full Lockdown – This scenario involves a serious threat that requires immediate action.

The types of events that require lockdowns include situations such as the following:

  • Active shooter
  • Hostage situation
  • Riots
  • Police activity nearby
  • National disasters

School lockdown procedures require the cooperation of the faculty, staff and students. While every school will have their own unique set of rules in their lockdown procedure, the following are general guidelines and best practices for having an effective lockdown.

Faculty & staff should do the following if a lockdown is ordered:

  • Lock all doors and windows immediately. If a door can’t be locked, attempt to quickly block the door with heavy items.
  • Never open doors or windows unless ordered to do so by a safety or school official. Always ask for documentation from an official to confirm their identity.
  • Turn off all lights, and close the blinds or curtains.
  • Instruct all students to stay low and away from the windows and doors.
  • Keep students inside of the classroom.
  • Silence televisions, cell phones and other electronics.
  • Clear hallways, bathrooms and any area or room that cannot be thoroughly secured.
  • Account for every student in the room.
  • Assist those with special needs.
  • Remain indoors and under lockdown until you receive an “all clear” from authorized personnel.

Students should abide by the following rules during a school lockdown:

  • Alert a faculty member or staff if you know that someone is simply pulling a prank.
  • Remain quiet, still, calm and alert.
  • Follow all instructions.
  • Only use cellular devices if it is an emergency or if instructed to do so.

Throughout the school year, schools should have practice drills so that students and staff become familiar with the emergency procedures. By knowing the lockdown procedures, and taking the practice drills seriously, you can keep yourself and others safe.