During a school lockdown or campus emergency, students and staff must be properly prepared to react quickly and effectively.

Recent school intrusions have caused many districts and educational institutions around the country to rethink their lockdown procedures. Continue reading to learn what to do and what not to do during a time of crisis.

What to Do

1. Alert Everyone on the Premises

Having a perpetrator or active shooter on campus or in a building is a worst-case scenario for school administrators. These individuals are most dangerous when students and school personnel are unaware of their presence.

Time is of the essence here. If there is suspicious activity on campus, everybody MUST be alerted immediately. Whether it be an intercom alert, campus-wide text message, or emergency alarm, the sooner everybody gets the message, the better people can protect themselves.

2. Evacuate if You Can

As soon as everybody gets the message, there needs to be a plan on how to react. Your students and staff’s first plan of action should be to evacuate immediately. They need an accessible escape route in mind and have to act quickly. Forget belongings and make a beeline to the exit.

When exiting the building, they must make sure their hands are visible, so police officers or campus security does not mistake them for the perpetrator.

The next tip is critical: Instruct everybody to ONLY try to evacuate if they know the perpetrator is away from them, i.e. on the other side of campus or in a different building. If they’re unsure of their location, or if they’re in the same building, follow the next step.

3. Shelter in Place

If they can’t evacuate, shelter in place. If in a classroom, lock the door, close the blinds, turn off the lights, and barricade the door with any heaving objects you can find, such as desks, chairs, etc. Do NOT open the door for anyone other than police or security, and make sure they confirm their identity before doing so.

If in the bathroom, stay there and lock the door. Likewise, shelter in a stall and try standing on top of the toilet, so feet are not visible below.

Other potential hiding areas include offices and locker rooms. However, there are some areas students and staff should avoid at all costs, which we discuss below.

What NOT to Do

1. Do Not Pursue the Perpetrator

NOBODY should ever be actively pursuing a suspicious person during a school lockdown, especially if they are an active shooter. Let police or security deal with the person. Your students and staff’s sole focus should be evacuating or sheltering.

The ONLY time someone should pursue a perpetrator is if their life depends on it. This would include a direct encounter, where the perpetrator enters their classroom or hiding spot or has them cornered.

2. Do Not Stay in Open Spaces

Large, open spaces make individuals a sitting duck if a perpetrator comes in their direction. Unless evacuating, avoid hallways at all costs. Hallways are a perpetrator’s main point of travel, so people are far more likely to have an encounter if they stay in them.

Other areas your students and staff should always avoid include the cafeteria and gymnasium. Both areas are large with few places to hide. Unless trapped there, find somewhere else to shelter.

3. Do Not Panic

A real-life school lockdown or campus emergency scenario is undeniably stressful. However, the last thing you want people to do is panic. Keeping a level head ensures individuals make rational decisions during a time of crisis.

Likewise, projecting calm can give others a sense of security and hope. When students and staff remain calm, they can proactively work with others to better protect themselves or get to safety.

Don’t Miss a Second With Your Security System

If there’s a campus emergency, don’t miss a second. You need a reliable security system during a time of crisis. With alarm monitoring, steps will be taken by a professional monitoring center designed to contact police and dispatch them  to the premises, so you can focus on alerting your students and staff.

If you would like to learn more on how to better protect your school, contact a Vector Security Expert today.



This material is intended for informational purposes only and constitutes advertising. The information provided is not intended to provide specific legal or risk management advice, nor does it address all possible risk management exposures and/or solutions pertaining to the subject matter of this material.