How to Practice Emergency School Lockdown Procedures

In order for any emergency plan to work effectively, you need to establish proper lockdown procedures and practice them regularly. During a crisis situation, there will not be time for planning it all out. Practicing is an added line of defense to help ensure the safety of the school's children and staff members.

Distribute the emergency lockdown procedures to all employees. Have school personnel review them in teams to offer input. Select a person to communicate the suggestions to the administrator devising the plan.

Discuss the plans with emergency responders. They can offer you advice. Invite them to the practice drill and ask for a critique afterward.

Address other issues during a practice session. Look for ways to make the emergency plan better during the practice run. Take notes during the practice lockdown. Evaluate what needs to be changed, what works well and record any new ideas that come up through the drill.

Approach the practice session in a serious manner. People tend to make light of fire drills and other practice sessions. Instruct staff not to make jokes and to reinforce to students the importance of practicing for emergencies.

Practice the lockdown. Tell students to sit at their desks calmly. Have an overhead announcement made about the lockdown procedure. Have each school staff member perform a task such as locking the doors or barricading windows with tables and desks.

Set up a check-in system. After each person locks a door have them radio in to an assigned person. The person in charge will check off lockdown locations while following along with a site map of the facility.

Evaluate the lockdown practice session. Explore what worked and what was ineffective, such as the flow of communication, the actual lockdown of the school and how long it took.


Get feedback by staff members about the lockdown procedure before the practice session. This will help you get a feel for the the building by the people who know it best. Consult the director of facilities operations, building maintenance and hallway security personnel. Communicate when the practice session will be to all staff and students to get proper attendance for it. Hold several practice sessions to be sure all have had a chance to participate in it.


Offer training for teachers and other staff, such as nurses, on how the calm a student during a crisis. Sometimes panic attacks can arise and need to be treated.

Things You'll Need

  • Date for practice session
  • Mobile tables and desks
  • Hand radios
  • Assign door keys
  • Action steps for practice
  • Facilities maps
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