Why do you need lockdown drill procedures? Administrators at schools and in the workplace have many things to oversee- one of which is safety. Whether you’re a new administrator tasked with safety planning or a seasoned professional in the field, utilize the prerequisites listed below to make sure you cover all your bases when developing lockdown drill procedures.
Lockdown Drill Procedures: 8 Prerequisites for Administrators and Safety Team
#1: Develop an Annual Schedule of Drills
- PLAN IN ADVANCE to develop your drill schedule for the year.
- For SCHOOLS: read the Recommended Annual School Drill Schedule
#2: Include Law Enforcement in your Drills
- INVITE LOCAL POLICE to attend the drills
- Ask them to observe, participate and offer feedback on the outcome of the drill
- Unable to be there this time? Ask your local police to participate another time.
#3: Start Basic with Announced Drills
- START WITH ANNOUNCED DRILLS (Administrators inform staff in advance).
- FIRST DRILL: Train staff on the necessary action prior to the drill.
- DRILL PRIOR TO DRILL: For schools, teachers should hold age-appropriate conversations with their students and share what is expected of them before running a school-wide drill.
- When starting the drill, notify staff through all forms of communication such as a loudspeaker.
- Proceed to unannounced drills at the end of the school year ONLY if staff and students have demonstrated a clear understanding of what is expected of them during a drill.
“For schools and workplaces that have not practiced drills at all, or for a long period of time, it is highly recommended to start with an announced drill. The idea is to create confidence, not discouragement or failure.”
#4: Practice Both Lockdown and Hold Drills
- Both Lockdown drills and Hold drills have the SAME IMPORTANCE.
- Practice Lockdown drills to prepare when an intruder or threat is ON CAMPUS.
- Practice Hold drills to prepare when a threat is OFF CAMPUS, but close enough to pose a possible threat to the campus.
- Hold drills are sometimes also referred to as “Lockout drills” or “Standard Lockdown drills” or “Non-emergency Lockdown drills.”
“When staff are in a Hold position during a threat, they are capable of moving to a lockdown position much quicker should the threat move on-site.”
#5: When Staff are Ready, Vary the Facilitation of Each Drill
- Do not proceed to other types of drills until staff and students are comfortable with practicing your most basic drill in different situations.
- When conducting proceeding drills, ALTER THE SITUATION so that it is different from the last. (If the previous drill did not run smoothly, repeat that drill until completed to satisfaction).
#6: Always Inform Law Enforcement
- If your local police department is unable to participate in the drill, CALL THEM BEFORE YOU START and inform them of the drill.
- CALL THEM AFTER DRILL IS COMPLETED.
#7: Documentation is Key!
- DOCUMENT DRILL DETAILS in a log (Include things that went well, areas for improvement, equipment fixes, etc.).
- Documentation may help protect your organization legally in the future.
#8: Debrief Your Staff Every Time
- Debrief your safety team and all staff in a FACE-TO-FACE MEETING.
- If face-to-face meetings are not possible, utilize other forms of communications such as emails and surveys.
- Staff should have the opportunity to express their thoughts.
- Implement changes that need to be made to equipment and the building.
- PUT IN PLACE NEWLY FORMED IDEAS and IMPROVEMENTS.
- Make sure to validate staff ideas by making a plan to put them in place. All debriefs should include what has worked well. Praise staff for their efforts.
A training model like Guardian Defense’s Active Threat Response Program will decrease anxiousness staff may experience when thinking about this topic. Guardian Defense also recommends the development of a safety team rather than just one individual in charge of implementing the Lockdown drill procedures. The head of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), school psychologist, or a related professional may be a helpful addition to the safety team for those staff who seek their guidance during the training process.
Training models should also include considerations for children and adults with mental and/or physical special needs or limitations.
Integrating Lockdown drill procedures and school safety drills is a work in progress. Procedures will need to be revised and updated annually. Establish the safety team first, and then utilize this set of critical prerequisites before implementing any drills. Having a safety team allows more than one person to be responsible for this task and allows employees to have a role in the well-being of themselves and their colleagues.