Schools in Australia are now required to have protocols in place for conditions that require the campus to be locked down. These types of events are unique in that they require students and staff to remain within the confines of the school rather than be evacuated.
The definition of a lockdown would be a situation where harm could come to people should they be outside. This could be a threat to individuals safety such as an aggressive or violent intruder, siege, hostage incident, robbery or severe storm. Typically a lockdown involves the whole campus and requires the cooperation of all staff and students to ensure the safety of all individuals.
Why does your school need lockdown control?
Student safety is paramount in every school, and ensuring clear communication during moments of crisis can minimise risk. A lockdown controller centralises the response process and ensures your staff are all on the same page when it comes to protecting students from harm.
Stage 1 – Standby
A lockdown warning is different to traditional evaucation warnings. Preceding a lockdown condition a sort of ‘secret signal’ can be played over the PA to students and staff, usually in the form of a particular piece of music, this would alert individuals that there could be a lockdown condition about to be in effect. This allows staff to get students into classrooms and other safe zones without agitating offenders with an alarm signal.
Stage 2 – Lock In or Lock Out condition
A repeating warning tone and message would play during these conditions.
A Lock In condition informs students and staff that there is a situation on the school grounds and they should lock themselves inside their classroom until the condition is cleared.
A Lock Out condition informs the students and staff that there is a situation within the schools buildings and they should remain outside until the condition is cleared. Your schools response protocol may require students to assemble in a safe zone or muster point outside.
Stage 3 – All Clear
Signalling the ‘all clear’ could come in the form of a tone, message or music track that is known by staff.
Tips for your schools lockdown and evacuation management:
- Nominate authorised personnel to operate the lockdown control system. This person will be responsible for initiating, managing and concluding the lockdown. And remember to have a backup in case of holidays/sickness.
- Define what will cause a lockdown, so the staff involved know the appropriate response for a given situation.
- Review on-site communications, ensure each department has appropriate lockdown and evacuation equipment such as loudhailers, UHF walkie talkies etc.
- Review your school PA system. Does it cover all areas with sufficient volume?
- Nominate safe zones, muster points and a movement plan for students during emergency conditions and review all relating signage.
- Train your staff in the systems and equipment.
- Have a plan to communicate the events back to parents.