Procedure & Policy for Hospital Lockdown

Updated March 23, 2017

Although the lockdown policies and procedures for each hospital differ, certain common procedures will generally be followed during a hospital lockdown. A hospital may initiate a lockdown for a variety of reasons, such as a suspicious substance, a serious viral outbreak, a shooting or a threat to the facility or patients.

Secure Facility

The hospital perimeter should be secured by locking and/or barricading all entrances and exits. Hospital procedures may require certain doors remain unlocked to allow emergency responders in and out of the building.

Notify Authorities

Hospital staff should immediately contact local emergency responders, including the police and/or fire brigade, in the event of a lockdown. Ambulances should be redirected to another facility or given the proper location for patient drop-off during the lockdown.

Secure Patients

Patient rooms may be secured, depending on the level of lockdown. Some patient conditions may require doors be open at all times for extensive monitoring; in this case, the door will be left open or another measure may be taken to ensure appropriate hospital staff maintain access to the patient.

Secure Visitors

Visitors should be directed to a specified area, where they will likely be required to remain until the lockdown has been lifted.


Staff should be well-trained in the policy and procedures for a hospital lockdown. The hospital staff should remain calm and professional during the lockdown, in order to keep visitors and patients calm.

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