K-12 Standard Response Protocol Toolkit
3.0 Lockdown Drills
Introduction to Lockdown Drills
A critical aspect in implementing the SRP with fidelity is the Lockdown Drill. Successful drills provide participants with the "Muscle Memory" should an actual Lockdown occur. Drills also reveal deficiencies that may exist in either procedure or personnel.
“A critical aspect in implementing the SRP with fidelity is the Lockdown Drill.”
Prior to drilling, students, staff and administration should review the SRP Training Presentation (available at iloveuguys.org).
Administration should also verify with law enforcement their use of the SRP in the school or district.
Teachers should take time with students to identify and occupy a "Safe Zone" in the classroom where they cannot be seen through any corridor windows. If visibility in a classroom is problematic, window covering or alternative locations should be identified.
Additionally, the following instructions should be delivered to students.
- Locate yourself at a point in the classroom where you can no longer see out the corridor window.
- Maintain silence. No cell phone calls.
- Refrain from texting during drills.
In Texas, Lockdown drills should be performed at least twice per school year, once per semester.
School level drills should have district support. There may also be district resources available to assist in conducting the drill. Another key partnership is with local law enforcement. Local patrol, community resource officers, or school resource officers should be part of the drill process.
The Emergency Response Team
Some school have a pre-identified Building/School Emergency Response Team. These teams are effective for responding to any type of incident.
It is a noted best practice for administration to survey the staff population for prior emergency response, military or law enforcement experience, specialized training, and skills for use in district emergency operations.
The Lockdown Drill Team
During an actual Lockdown, members of the Emergency Response Team may be in classrooms or administrative offices in Lockdown mode and unable to assist with the response.
The Lockdown Drill Team should not include personnel that have specific roles during an actual emergency within that school. Instead, the team might include district safety representatives, law enforcement, and those administrators from another school.
When Lockdown Drills are first being introduced to a school, it is absolutely okay to tell staff in advance of the drill. There may be staff members adversely affected by surprise drills.
Special Needs Considerations
It is critical to identify any specific issues that may cause challenges for special needs students and incorporate appropriate actions for notification prior to drills. It is not recommended that additional assistance be provided to special needs areas for drills, UNLESS this assistance is part of a student’s Individualized Education Plan or 504 Plan.
The Pre-Drill Briefing
Prior to the Lockdown Drill a short planning meeting with the Lockdown Drill Team should occur. The agenda is simple:
- Review the floor plan and team member assignments
- Expected drill duration
- The door knock and classroom conversation
- Potential student or staff distress
Announcing the Lockdown Drill
When using public address to announce a Lockdown Drill, repeat, “Lockdown. Locks, Lights, Out of Sight. This is a drill.” It’s important to tell students and staff that this is a drill. Failure to do so will most likely result in parents, media and maybe even law enforcement coming to the school.
“Lockdown! Locks, Lights, Out of Sight!
This is a drill.”
(Click above image to download Lockdown Drill Poster.)
Conducting the Drill
The Lockdown Drill Team should be broken into groups of two or three members who go to individual classrooms. One of the members acts as "Scribe" and documents each classroom response. (See below Lockdown Response Worksheet.)
At the classroom door, team members listen for noise and look through the corridor window for any visible students, staff, or movement. A team member then knocks on the door and requests entry. There should be no response to this request. At this point a member of the team unlocks the classroom door and announces their name and position.
This Lockdown Response Worksheet was created by The "I Love U Guys" Foundation to assist you in conducting and documenting your lockdown drills. If you would like to download, view, or print the Lockdown Response Worksheet please click the button below.
The Classroom Conversation
Typically, this conversation addresses the purpose of the drill and the observed outcome for that classroom. Additionally, self-evacuation and other life safety strategies can be discussed. Any issues should be addressed gently but immediately.
Often there is a conversation about inside and outside windows. Corridor windows are left uncovered so that first responders can see inside the room. Outside windows are left untouched because the threat would be inside the building.
The Lockdown Drill Team Debrief
At the conclusion of the drill, the team should reconvene for a debrief. Any issues should be documented, and action items should be identified. An opportunity for all staff to submit information regarding the performance of the drill should be part of the after-action review process. Update your EOP, if needed.