Health & Safety

Information Bulletins · Lockdown: Best Practices



Lockdown: Best Practices

Why are lockdown drills needed?

  • can’t assume "it won't happen here"
  • drills familiarize staff and students providing increased comfort levels during a crisis and reducing panic

Developing Protocol, Communicating and Training

Employers should:

  • hold two unscheduled, unannounced drills per year (some conducted during lunch and recess)
  • involve the unions in debriefing after any incident or drill to provide input to improve the process
  • offer assistance to employees after a drill since simulations can be traumatic
  • work with police and emergency personnel to set up policies and protocols
  • customize emergency plans for all locations
  • solicit union input in writing and reviewing plans annually
  • develop a quick reference to emergency plans as a wallet card or poster
  • train all staff in the protocol, and review with staff each year
  • train all staff in de-escalation techniques
  • clarify the roles of various school team members during a crisis
  • develop a flowchart to instruct administrators on how and when to contact authorities and media
  • keep parents and volunteers informed of the protocol

Common Lockdown Concerns/Issues to Clarify

  • clarify different types of lockdown:
    • "full lockdown" for inside threats such as intruders
    • lockdown response to an outside threat
    • lockdown to search for a missing child in the building
  • use consistent codes or standard police codes instead of secret codes so occasional and itinerant staff are aware
  • incorporate washroom checks into the plan
  • develop a plan to secure open areas such as libraries and cafeterias
  • plan alternate command posts in the worksite beyond the main office
  • plan more than one evacuation site at varying distances
  • establish an evacuation kit that includes a staff roster, floor plan, and list of students
  • ensure there is an ability to shut off alarm systems from outside office/school
  • provide doors that can be automatically and remotely locked
  • ensure the PA system works outside of the worksite
  • plan for the provision of food, water, and washrooms during extended lockdowns
  • plan for the contact and care for children of staff members in the event a lockdown extends beyond the regular work day
  • have a system to distinguish staff/ students from intruders

In a Classroom During a Lockdown

  • if outside, do not enter building, but move to a planned meeting site
  • immediately check halls for students and quickly allow students into the class, if safe
  • secure the classroom door and do not answer the door for the duration of the lockdown
  • turn off lights and computers and pull any blinds
  • make the classroom look empty by keeping away from doors and windows and moving to a safe corner to reduce visibility
  • create cover by turning desks on their side in a circle on the floor with desk tops facing out and everyone inside
  • be aware of flimsy wall construction in portables
  • remain QUIET!!!
  • provide ideas to keep students busy
  • assess and treat injuries
  • check attendance.
  • do not contact the office unless you have information about the suspect/incident
  • do not use a cell phone within the classroom and ensure all ringers are off
  • remain in the class until the “all clear” is given and disregard school bells and fire alarms.

90% of our time and efforts should be spent on prevention

  • identify students who exhibit danger signs
  • encourage students and staff to break the code of silence
  • report suspicious behaviour and comments