Now that most school campuses have been in full swing for over a month, it’s necessary to prepare for every type of emergency. Elementary and secondary schools all need lockdown procedures, and so do college campuses of all sizes. Here is why campus lockdown procedures are so important, and some tips on how to make them more effective.
Why Lockdown Procedures Matter
During an emergency situation, it’s easy for everyone to panic. However, panic can only make the circumstances worse. Campus lockdown procedures help teach everyone involved – students, teachers, and staff – how they should respond, whether the lockdown is caused by a weather event or an active shooter nearby. Lockdowns typically involving staying put, turning out all the lights, and staying quiet after a signal is given to initiate the lockdown. That said, numerous factors can make this more complicated than it sounds.
There are five fundamental elements of any good campus lockdown procedure. They are:
- Looking at the layout of the campus;
- Determining available resources to respond to different emergency situations;
- Determining which electronic security systems can be of use (and if they need upgrades);
- Communicating the plans for these procedures;
- Putting it all together, and then putting it into practice.
As with fire drills, lockdown procedures must be practiced and rehearsed, whether or not they are announced beforehand. However, it is important to stress that lockdown drills are only drills so that there isn’t confusion about if the threat to the campus is actually real.
How to Identify Threats
Threat identification is another vital part of creating the best possible campus lockdown procedures. School resource officers and others in charge of security need to be notified whenever an intruder enters school grounds. Communication is vital, especially from teachers or students who might be able to identify a threat before administrators can, even though it is typically only administrators who can initiate a lockdown. Cameras, access control systems, and alarm systems are all necessary pieces of security technology that can help make a difference during an emergency, especially if the campus needs to go into lockdown.
Developing the Procedure
Identify the situation: The first and most vital step is to identify the emergency, and why the campus lockdown procedures are needed.
Communicate: Mass notification systems should be used to alert everyone who is on campus and is coming to campus that lockdown measures are about to be in effect.
Shelter: Instruct everyone to shelter in place, barricading windows and doors and closing blinds and shutters. Locking doors and improvising defensive measures is also necessary.
Wait: Then wait for the all-clear signal before coming out of lockdown. Training is crucial for ensuring all of these steps are followed without incident.
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