What Does Lockdown Mean in School?
What does lockdown mean in school? This article is to help you think about how to ensure the security of pupils, parents and also employees in case of a major incident / emergency situation, which may result in your school being placed into ‘lockdown’.
Most of your current procedures for taking care of an emergency will involve evacuating the school and probably be focused on an event taking place within your premises. However, in some situations, it is likely you will be better served to stay in place (lockdown) rather than leave the school.
Every school should have a discernible lockdown signal, that all teachers can recognise and respond rapidly to. It should be different to the emergency fire-alarm signal.
Lockdown of a school and its buildings is an emergency procedure to safeguard and secure all occupants who find themselves in the vicinity of an immediate threat. Emergency responders can contain a scenario more effectively by restricting movement in a specific location or locations.
[Click Here to see how to achieve this with our cloud-based Lockdown System]
When considering the question ‘What does lockdown mean in school?’ examine the risk of a potential incident happening in your locale i.e. consider your neighbourhood, are you near a popular tourist attraction, power plant, or a large city?
Check your local police website for recommendations concerning a series of issues that may exist in your location. Ensure you have local police contact details clearly on show for teachers to quickly refer to.
Check your existing emergency procedures regularly and update them if necessary.
– Follow any Local Authority recommendations for handling emergency scenarios provided.
– Share info with pupils’ guardians to tell them of the actions you will put in place in the event of a ‘lockdown’ and also what actions they should take.
– Make sure all employees know their duties during ‘lockdown’.
– Prepare the wording of a message that will be released to all parents as soon as lockdown is introduced and that you are confident the incident is genuine.
Suggested wording for parental Lockdown message:
Due to an ongoing event, emergency services have advised us to lockdown the school and stay put until we get the ‘green light’ to re-establish normal access. Please do not try to pick up your children until it is completely safe, and the event is resolved. When we have that clarification from the emergency services, we will inform you as quickly as we are able.
Meanwhile it is imperative that our telephone lines stay clear and we would ask you not to call unless it is absolutely essential. We will give updates, as we can, via all normal available means of communication.
If a major incident takes place, senior management should act quickly to evaluate the likelihood of immediate danger. If you reach the conclusion that it is much safer to stay put then initiate ‘lockdown’ until the emergency response arrives.
When emergency services arrive it is vital all employees adhere to instructions provided.
On Lockdown sounding:
– Remain calm.
– Ensure teachers and pupils remain in their current classroom, lock all windows and doors (close blinds if applicable) and wait for further instructions.
– Keep away from doors and windows.
– Keep at a low level and try to keep pupils calm, it may be an idea to practice this with pupils in an age-appropriate style, in the same way that you would practice a fire drill. ( Lockdown drills need to be practiced and recorded regularly.)
– Check local TV / radio / social media for updates.
– Do NOT make non-essential phone calls.
– Should the fire-alarm sound, stay where you are and await further directions from emergency services unless the fire is close. If so employ progressive horizontal evacuation, following your normal fire procedures.
– Do NOT open your classroom door until you receive the official ‘all clear’ or you are 100% sure emergency services are at the door. This is another element of your ‘lockdown’ procedure that can be practiced in an age-appropriate style with the pupils to avoid them becoming over-anxious when staff do not react to the alarm as they normally would.
– Do NOT move along large hallways.
– Do NOT assemble in large external locations.
– Do NOT call emergency services again unless you have immediate fear for your security, the security of others, or feel you have scene-critical updates.
– Coordinate and assist with emergency services to affect an organised evacuation.
– Make sure you have the register and details of all children in your area.
– Any teachers or pupils that have actually observed the event will be required inform police anything they recall.
Dealing with Guardians:
Following a major-incident parents will no-doubt immediately want to come to school and get their children. You should stop them from doing so, until police give the all clear. Even then, if the incident was severe children may need to be medically checked and some may need to give information to the police.
Make clear to parents that you have to act on instructions from emergency services as do they.
[Click Here to get a Demo of The Smartboard School Lockdown System]