School and public safety officials around the world are re-evaluating their lockdown protocols, training and drills in light of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. There is no “one size fits all” lockdown protocol that will work properly in every school because procedures must reflect differences in school design and local law enforcement response capabilities. Lockdown protocols that look great on paper or during basic drills initiated by an administrator can have significant gaps when tested by actual events.
We have seen instances of delays in the implementation of lockdowns ranging from a minute to several minutes in actual incidents, and we have often seen fail rates of 60% to 81% during simulations that require individual staff members to make and communicate the lockdown decision.
- Don’t focus all of your efforts on active shooter situations.
- Schools that only have one type of lockdown procedure are more likely to have plan failure during a crisis.
- Codes can kill.
- All staff should be issued keys, participate in staff development and some form of lockdown drill.
- Doors should be locked during instructional times and when the door is not actively in use.
- If they are not trained with staff-initiated drills, individual staff members and teachers are less likely to respond effectively during a crisis.
- Basing the lockdown decision on the location of the threat instead of the nature of the threat can be dangerous.
- Reverse evacuation protocols and drills are critical.
- Room clear protocols can also be important.
An excerpt from Campus Safety Magazine