While lockdown drills in schools are a relatively new phenomenon, emergency preparedness drills are not. They date back to the 1950s, when students practiced duck-and-cover drills to prepare for anticipated atomic attacks during the Cold War, and continued through the following decades, when fire drills became commonplace. Today, most public schools conduct at least one lockdown drill a year, probably due to the increasing occurrence of active intruder situations in schools.
It’s important to make regular lockdown drills a part of your school’s routine to help students and staff prepare for the possibility of an intruder. At CM Regent Insurance Company, we’ve outlined some of the basics you need to know.
What happens in a lockdown drill?
In a lockdown drill, students clear the halls and report to the nearest available classroom, where they are supposed to hide and stay quiet until school leaders or law enforcement tell them it is safe to come out. Designated staff close and lock all classroom doors, close all classroom window shades or window blinds, shut off the classroom lights and cover all classroom door windows so that potential intruders cannot look inside.
Remember that a lockdown drill is not the same as lockdown training. Experienced lockdown trainers should provide instruction to all school staff on their expected duties prior to the drill so there are no surprises. Staff should also take opportunities before the drill to discuss these expected duties with their students.
Focus on the how of the drill
You can help ease any potential anxiety your students might have during the lockdown drill by focusing on some basic training protocols. These training protocols include: When the lockdown is called, tell children to retreat into classrooms, find a hiding place and stay quiet. Do not add potentially traumatizing effects to the drill.
When explaining the drill to children, be honest and factual. Explain to your students why they will be staying in the classroom and why they must be quiet. While you should not sugarcoat what they are doing, focus on the how of the drill rather than the why. Children like learning procedures and are often proud of themselves when they are able to perform every aspect of a procedure.
While you may conduct lockdown drills, you still want to improve safety and security procedures within your school so that a lockdown does not become necessary. You can do this by:
- Keeping all doors locked at all times, except the beginning and end of the school day.
- Using separate entrances for visitors and staff/students.
- Requiring visitors to present photo identification.
- Installing cameras around your school property.
How CM Regent Insurance Company can help
CM Regent Insurance Company has been protecting schools for five decades. We have developed school-specific insurance coverages so that if the unthinkable happens, you will still have the support you need.