lockdown drill procedures


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

#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.

#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.
  • 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.

Special Considerations:

We recommend that staff participate in an active shooter training course for your school or for your workplace in order to fully benefit from Lockdown drills.

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.

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