Why do you need lockdown drill procedures? Administrators at schools and in the workplace have many things to oversee, not just for academics and enrichment, but also for safety.

 9-Point Lockdown Drill Procedures Checklist

Use this as a guide to conducting the drills from start to finish.

  • Develop an annual schedule of drills for your academic year. Please read Recommended Annual School Drill Schedule for more information and ways to set up your safety drill schedule to encompass all school drills.
  • Invite your local police department to attend some or all of the drills. Most police departments, if they have enough staffing, are willing to attend the drills to observe, participate and offer feedback on the outcome of the drill.
  • Start with announced drills, and then proceed to unannounced drills throughout the school year. Announced drills are drills in which staff are informed in advance, usually anywhere between a week before, to the morning of the scheduled drill. This can be done by communicating with staff through the most common form of communication for that school, such as a loudspeaker. Administrators my also send an email to the staff in advance as well. Unannounced drills are drills that have no warning. Rather, staff are prompted to act by hearing or seeing signs of a drill, such as an announcement on the loudspeaker at the time of the drill, or a staff member communicating the drill by shouting the emergency code throughout the hallways.
  • Practice both emergency lockdown drills and non-emergency lockdown drills. Emergency lockdown drills are practiced in the event of an intruder or threat ON campus. Non-emergency lockdown drills are practiced to prepare for a threat that is OFF, but close to, campus, and that could potentially pose a threat to the campus. An example of this is a police perimeter that is set up close to the school in order to catch a perpetrator.
  • When conducting proceeding drills, alter the situation so that it is different from the last. In the instance of practicing an announced emergency drill, the first drill should be announced by the typical form of communication, such as a loudspeaker and stated as: “This is an emergency lockdown drill. Please follow procedures for the emergency lockdown drill. Repeat, this is a drill.”  The second time an announced emergency drill is practiced, it can be facilitated by an appointee shouting down the hallways, “This is an emergency lockdown drill. Please follow procedures for the emergency lockdown drill. Repeat, this is a drill.” These two examples could also be used for unannounced emergency drills. Note: Do not proceed on to other types of drills until staff and students are comfortable with practicing your most basic drill.
  • If your local police department is unable to observe or participate in the drill, call the police department just before you start to inform them of the drill. Don’t forget to call them after the drill to let them know it is completed.
  • Complete a log documenting the details of the drill. Remember to include the things that went well in the log, as well as areas for improvement.
  • Debrief with your safety team and all staff in forms of meetings and emails. Allow your staff the opportunity to express their thoughts and concerns of the drill, as well as any changes that need to be made with equipment and safety features in the building.
  • Put into place newly formed ideas and areas to improve upon. All debriefs should include what has worked well and staff should be praised for their efforts. Make sure to validate staff ideas by making a plan to put them in place. We recommend the development of a safety team.

Special Considerations: Guardian Defense recommends staff are trained in an active shooter training course in order to fully benefit from lockdown drills. The active shooter training will decrease anxiety and stress that staff may experience. Guardian Defense also recommends the school psychologist or a professional in a related field is part of the safety team to provide assistance to any staff member who may need their guidance.

Remember, integrating lockdown drill procedures and school safety drills are a work in progress. There will always be things that need to be changed, revised and updated. Administrators should work with their security officers and/or safety team with whom they can share the responsibility of this task.

Do you have questions about lockdown drill procedures? Let our team at Guardian Defense help you!

About Steven S. Smith

Steven S. Smith, the President and Founder of Guardian Defense, offers active shooter training programs to staff within schools, colleges, churches, law enforcement agencies, businesses, and hospitals; in order to build confidence and save time in the event of an intruder, active shooter or killer, or other terror attack. Mr. Smith is a current certified law enforcement officer and has a range of experience on school and public safety, and investigation work. He is currently a team leader and instructor on the SWAT Team, for which he joined in 2009. Mr. Smith graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with a concentration in Criminal Justice, in 2005 from Nova Southeastern University.