Active Shooter Lockdown And Barricade Procedures That Can Save Lives

From the Oct. 1, 2017, outdoor shooting in Las Vegas that killed 53 and injured at least 1,000 to the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting on Feb. 15 that killed 17 and injured dozens more, active shooter events are dominating the news.

As a result, organizations are realizing that they need to create or update their active shooter preparedness plans. A critical part of these plans includes lockdown procedures, including knowing how and where to shelter-in-place. By planning and training for lockdowns, organizations can provide clear guidance on what to do to save lives.

Understand Your Lockdown Procedures

Simply put, lockdowns are used to protect people inside a facility. A full lockdown means that exits and entrances are sealed and that people must stay where they are and may not exit or enter another room, unit or office. Full lockdown procedures typically dictate that if people are in a hallway, they must go into the nearest room, office or unit and take shelter there.

If it’s not possible to evacuate the area, employees can shelter-in-place. They should go to a clearly identified area and stay there until the event is over and police let them know it’s ok to exit.

Sheltering-in-place is part of the second step of the Evade, Shelter and Barricade, and Fight and Counterattack plan, since it aims to deny the shooter access to the room or space.

Identify Your Interior Shelters

Your office’s shelter-in-place location(s) should be established as part of your active shooter plan and actively used during your active shooter training. Depending on your organization's floor plan, there may be a designated room to shelter-in-place or you may need to improvise in your immediate area.

Whether your organization is a business, school or church, you should designate at least one room to shelter-in-place. The best type of door for this location is a solid core wood door with a lock. Once you and your colleagues are inside, lock the door and barricade it with heavy items, such as desks, chairs and file cabinets, and use cords (either stored there for that purpose or removed from computers, printers or other equipment) to tie them together. When the blockade is secured, turn off the lights and hide from view.

Barricades Help Deter The Shooter

This is the best deterrent to use on an active shooter. The shooter knows there is limited time until authorities arrive and his attack is stopped, and he will not want to spend time trying to push through a reinforced door. Additionally, creating as much distance as possible with debris will help to prevent him from being able to shoot accurately if he’s able to move the barricade and enter the room.

It may be tempting to want to look out toward where the incident is occurring, but even if your intentions are good and you're hoping to gauge the safety of others, you may give away your location and endanger everyone else in the room.

Practice Lockdowns In Your Building

When planning active shooter drills, make sure to include your lockdown and shelter-in-place procedures. Every employee should know the location of the closest interior shelter. Also, have employees actively build barricades so they get a sense of what to use and how to quickly construct them.

These drills can help ensure that your employees can react reflexively during an active shooter event. Quick action saves lives and helps prevent injuries.

Ready to learn more about how to protect your organization from an active shooter?

Register for our webinar, “Active Shooter Preparedness: Life-Saving Strategies From A Law Enforcement Expert,” on March 8. Active shooter training expert Jay Bryant will cover all areas of active shooter preparedness and answer all your questions about active shooter events.

You are well on your way toward protecting your staff and organization.

Take the next step toward protecting your organization by learning more about emergency notification systems and the vital role they play in your emergency preparedness plan.