If you are taking the consultative approach to security on campus, lockdown procedures are a great way to add value to your services. Lockdown procedures help minimize the spread of violence and increase the safety of university students, employees and visitors. Open campuses present formidable challenges to provide the level of safety that the public expects today. Although a campus-wide lockdown may not always be practical or possible, individual buildings and sites can be secured when the proper procedures and technologies are deployed.
Multiple lockdown options can help to appropriately address an emergency or threat. A preventive lockdown can limit access, yet allow classroom instruction to continue.
Steps to follow in a lockdown
When you have initiated a lockdown, these steps can make a difference in the safety and well being of students, staff and visitors. These steps should be included in personnel training and a lockdown drill.
Stay in the classroom unless an all clear has been sounded or is authorized by a designated security official.
Leave the area, or the campus, if it is possible to do so safely. If unable to leave campus, direct people to an area that can
- Call 911, if able to do so safely. If you are near an emergency call box, open it and follow the instructions for use. Do not pull the fire alarm.
- Lock all doors into the area. If it is not possible to lock the doors, place furniture and equipment to barricade them. Use whatever means possible to restrict entry.
- Move to the point in the room that is most distant from a door entering the room from the outside or from a corridor/hallway.
- Close blinds and window treatments for concealment.
- Turn off lights. Put cell phones on vibrate and if communication is needed, use text messaging only.
- Remain under lockdown until advised by public safety officers or campus administration.
University facilities may need modification to create more efficient security systems. This may involve installing new locks, such as those with a Classroom Lock function, that enable lockdown from the inside. Industry standards place a high priority on access control systems that enable classroom buildings to be locked down from a remote location.
According to Gary Conley, facilities & systems engineer, Office of Business Operations, University of Virginia, lockdown cannot be delayed.
"This issue is major with wireless access control," Conley said. "Usually, with WiFi, access control decisions are downloaded by the host into the lock five to six times per day versus five to six times per hour with 900 MHz solutions, a 10-minute heartbeat." Access control decisions may also be managed within the locks (as is the case with offline locks) to minimize communication from the lock to the host and conserve batteries. However, such limited (non-online) connectivity with the host limits the locks' ability to receive urgent commands from the host. For instance, even with a 900 MHz platform, a direction to immediately lock down could be ignored for 10-plus minutes.
When the University of Kentucky expanded its Memorial Coliseum, it also created a whole new game plan for higher security needs.
"We required three different functions," Associate Athletics Director Russ Pear explained. "One is for day-to-day operation, the second for when the building needs to be locked down and the third for when we have an event in the Coliseum and need to control access to and from the Joe Craft Center."
In the Wildcats' solution, the Schlage Security Management System manages both online and standalone locks from a single database.
To date, no national standard exists for lockdown procedures. However, Ingersoll Rand can help integrators and end-users determine what changes may be necessary to support a quick, effective and simple lockdown.
Beverly Vigue is the vice president, Education Markets, for Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies.