As a security officer, you have to expect the unexpected on a daily basis. Some situations you encounter will be more serious than others, and for those requiring special attention, you may need to implement a lockdown on the premises. Today, we will discuss what a lockdown procedure looks like, how to plan one, what should be included, and how to distribute the procedure to those in the office.
What is a Lockdown Procedure?
A lockdown procedure is a series of actions that are taken during an emergency to ensure the safety of those in the location where a potential threat is taking place. Lockdowns can occur for a number of reasons, including a natural disaster, bomb threat, active shooter, police activity, or if a dangerous animal is spotted near the premises. As a security officer, it is your duty to keep your assigned area safe, so it is likely that you will have a hand in deciding when a building or office needs to go into lockdown for the safety of those that work there.
How to Plan a Lockdown Procedure
To properly plan a lockdown procedure, we must first take a look at the different types of lockdowns that may be necessary:
- Shelter-in-place – Occurs when there is an external health hazard and exiting the building is not recommended. This is common when dealing with potentially dangerous weather conditions.
- Internal threat – In this case, there has been a threat detected inside the building, and the goal is to keep everyone unharmed until the threat is removed. An example of this might include a bomb threat inside the building.
- External threat – External threats are those that occur outside the building or workplace. In this lockdown scenario, the goal is to keep the threat outside of the building. An example of this would include a riot or police activity.
- Full lockdown – This is the most severe form of lockdown and occurs when there is an immediate threat to those in the workplace. A full lockdown would occur in the event of an active shooter.
By understanding the different types of lockdown procedures, you can then start to create different procedures for these various situations.
What Should be Included in a Lockdown Procedure
Lockdown procedures should include all of the necessary steps to keep those in the workplace safe in the event of an emergency situation. Some of these steps might include the following:
- Who is responsible for declaring a lockdown, and what language will they use to declare the lockdown officially
- Locking all exterior doors and windows
- Covering windows
- Stay out of sight of windows facing the outside
- Clear rooms that cannot be secured, such and hallways
- Take attendance of those in your department
- Do not allow anyone outside of the building to enter, or vice versa
Depending on the threat that causes the lockdown, some of these steps may not be necessary, or some may need to be added. For example, if your lockdown is a shelter-in-place situation because of dangerous weather, it might not be as vital for those in the workplace to stay out of sight of outward-facing windows.
Learn more: Security Guard Duties and Responsibilities
Creating a Lockdown Procedure for Workplaces
Depending on your building or facility, the steps listed in the previous section might need to be altered to suit your specific situation. It’s important to take a look at your place of work and make adjustments that will be the most beneficial for your office.
You might also like: How to Create a Building Security Plan
How to Distribute a Lockdown Procedure
For a lockdown procedure to have its intended effect – keeping everyone safe – the steps of the lockdown should be clearly communicated to everyone in the workplace. The best way to distribute a lockdown procedure is in a way where everyone has the necessary information. For example, it’s a good idea to email the lockdown procedures to everyone in the office and to have hard copies on hand for department heads. Additionally, it is also helpful to periodically practice lockdown procedures so that everyone knows exactly what to do in the event of an emergency. Because situations that require a lockdown are usually unexpected, it may also be a good idea to have unplanned lockdown drills to see how prepared those in the workplace are for the real thing. From there, you can evaluate their preparedness and adjust as needed.
If you have a passion for protecting others and would like to help those in a case where lockdowns are necessary, consider becoming a security guard! NITA has online courses that can assist you in your career as a security guard so that you can pursue your passions.
Already a security professional? Here are some of our top courses to help you be better prepared for a lockdown situation: