Crimson Wife said...We have no lockdown procedures on my campus that I'm aware of. Last week I drove to school and noticed while parking that multiple police cars were roaring onto campus with sirens blaring. No one had any idea what was going on, and students were walking calmly along to class as they normally do, so I did the same, all the while thinking to myself: I don't have to be here. I could get back in my car and drive home.
When my DH was in the Army, the S.O.P. was to do a lockdown of the unit whenever sensitive materials (usually weapons or night-vision goggles) were unaccounted for. No one was allowed in or out but while there were armed military police guarding the exits, I'm 99% sure that those inside were not physically locked in.
Lockdown is what may have saved lives in that school. It means that the teachers shove their kids into the safest possible space in the room and LOCK the door. This keeps the killer out of the room. The reason that the toll was so high at VA Tech was because they didn't have a lockdown, and the gunman visited classroom after classroom.
A quote from coverage of the shooting
"Music teacher Maryrose Kristopik was hailed as a hero for barricading 15 children in one closet, where they could hear the bloodthirsty Lanza screaming, “Let me in!”"
This is how a lockdown can save lives
The timing on this incident meant that many students were likely traveling between their classroom and the office bringing down attendance and lunch reports, as well as visiting the library for SSR material. Going in to hard lockdown meant that each child was immediately placed under direct adult supervision and moved to the safest position in the room possible - staff checks the hallway, pulls in any nearby person, and locks the door. Any unlocked windows are locked. The corridors are clear. Anyone that was outdoors will be moved to the designated safe location, which is not necessarily the school bldg. Doors and windows are locked.
A soft lockdown is also used in certain situations. Students with urgent needs can use the bathroom w/supervision if they are not in the affected zone, but everyone else stays in position and the classroom learning proceeds. Outdoor activities are cancelled.Doors and windows are locked.
People can still exit the bldg, by unlocking the windows, just as they would if the fire alarm was pulled in the winter, but the situation will tell if that is in their best interests.
It seems clear to me that our mental health system needs revamping.
To answer your original question -- a hospital lockdown means that perimeter is secured and visitor access is restricted or screened more than usual. The police are involved.
We have two types of lockdown, depending on whether the perceived threat is external or internal. They have different names (which escape me at the moment), but we have drills for both and the rationale is calmly explained to students.
When the threat is external -- usually, a police action somewhere in the vicinity -- all entrances to the building are locked, external windows are locked and shades drawn, and first-floor classrooms with windows fronting on the exterior of the building are required to have lights turned off and students moved away from the windows as a precaution. Learning activities can continue, although sometimes what the students are doing is affected by the lights being turned off. I was in one classroom where the teacher switched from guided reading activities to choral music during this lockdown. Doors to the classrooms were not locked, and students could use the rest rooms under supervision -- administrators and support personnel patrolled the halls to ensure students could be hustled to safety should the situation escalate.
When the threat is inside the building (I was in the computer lab during one such incident), teachers are asked to lock their doors if possible - many classroom doors cannot be locked from the inside however, and teachers using resource rooms, conference rooms or offices may not have keys to those rooms - but students or staff were not to leave the rooms for any reason until an all-clear was announced. One of my students wanted to use the restroom but I had to tell her NO. In our case it was a middle school student having a major meltdown in the hall and armed with a baseball bat or hockey stick threatening mayhem. After leading several burly staff on a merry chase he fled the building and was apprehended in the parking lot. Mental health issues were involved.
I did not have keys to the computer lab however, so had an armed intruder been involved I would have had no way of locking the door. In my experience, which is limited in these matters, the lockdowns have all been brief and care taken to keep the staff and students informed in a calm and matter-of-fact way.
That line of thinking competed with my second line of thinking, which had to do with the size of the campus: quite large from one end to the other. Because all the police cars were headed to the other side, opposite from me (and my car), I found myself thinking: Is whatever is happening going to stay there and not come here?
Which instantly made me feel guilty because if there was something bad happening there, I was now actively hoping that it would continue happening there, not here, where I was.
The whole thing was crazy.
Finally, after I'd arrived at my classroom (which may or may not have locks on the doors, I don't know) and was now too far from my car to return to it quickly, a student outside the room told me there was smoke coming from a building at the other side of the campus, and that's why the police had come.