This is a Lockdown Drill – Potentially Deadly Habits during School Drills

During our school security assessments, we often run a variety of school crisis simulations in a one-on-one fashion.  Over the past decade we have noticed a variety of patterns of concern.  Most consistently observed with administrators and front office staff who have made announcements in concert with drills in the past, this is a type of stress reaction that can easily occur under field conditions because of the manner in which drills are conducted. 

When a school administrator has made announcements for drills multiple times, which include references to the announcement being part of a drill, it is easy for this to occur.  A simple strategy to reduce the chances that this will occur is to have a second person come on the intercom once the instruction to implement the protocol has been announced and state that the event is only a drill.  For example, one staff member might announce “All students and staff, implement severe weather sheltering procedures now, I repeat, all students and staff, implement severe weather sheltering procedures now” followed by a separate announcement made by a different staff member stating “all students and staff, this is a drill, I repeat, all students and staff, this is a drill.”  This simple approach can help reduce the chances that staff will announce that a drill is being conducted during a real emergency.  This can be important because staff may become panicked if they are told an event is a drill when they learn that they are experiencing an actual event.

Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn serves as the Executive Director of Safe Havens International, a non-profit school safety center. The author of 27 books on school safety, Michael’s campus safety work has taken him to 11 countries over the past 34 years.
Michael Dorn
About Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn serves as the Executive Director of Safe Havens International, a non-profit school safety center. The author of 27 books on school safety, Michael’s campus safety work has taken him to 11 countries over the past 34 years.