It’s not something we like to think of, but the truth is that our schools and other educational establishments are at risk of attack. Recent events at schools such as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida this February that claimed 17 lives, right back to the 1996 Dunblane school attack in which 16 children and their teacher lost their lives, only serves to highlight the real threat posed to our schools. Although these kinds of events are heard of more in the US, just last week several schools across the UK went into lockdown after receiving malicious emails threatening to mow down children as they left school.
So, what is dynamic lockdown?
Dynamic lockdown is the ability to quickly restrict access and egress to a site or building (or part of) through physical measures in response to a threat. That threat can be either external or internal. The aim of lockdown is to prevent people moving into danger areas and preventing or stalling the attackers accessing a site (or part of a site).
Why develop dynamic lockdown?
Those who seek to conduct these attacks often undertake a level of planning including hostile reconnaissance. Presenting a strong security presence through visible and effective activity can significantly reduce the threat of attack to your school. This can be through staff awareness and reporting processes, efficient use of CCTV cameras, deterrent communications and active security zones,
If an attack occurs the ability to frustrate and delay the attacker and reduce the number of potential casualties, can be greatly increased through the dynamic lockdown.
Planning will save lives. This includes looking at what needs to happen to lock down a site effectively. Equally, understanding the need for flexibility in those plans is important.
How to achieve dynamic lockdown
- In the planning phase, you should identify all access and egress points in both public and private areas of the school. It’s also important to remember that access points to the school may be more than just doors and gates.
- Identify how to quickly and physically secure access/egress points
- Identify how your site can be sectioned to allow specific areas to be locked down, depending on the point of access by an attacker
- Decide on staff roles and responsibilities before, during and after an attack
- Ensure staff are trained to act effectively and are aware of their responsibilities
- Consider how to stop people leaving or entering the site and direct people away from danger
- If lifts are present on site, consider the ability to disable them without returning them to the ground floor
- Ensure processes and procedures put in place are flexible enough to cope with both invacuation and evacuation
Are there systems available to help with dynamic lockdown?
Yes. The Commend Lockdown solution comprises different modules that can be deployed across a site, each having a specific function to enable effective site lockdown.
You choose one or more Executive Lockdown Leaders (ELL). A designated ELL can control the lockdown system through various devices. From the touch of a button, staff can dynamically lockdown a site, make announcements, lock/unlock specific doors, and control lifts etc. whilst also being made aware of any fire alarms being activated.
The Commend Lockdown solution is also easily integrated with most existing fire and security systems.
What are the modules available with the Commend Lockdown solution?
Fire Alarm Controller
The Fire Alarm module connects to the main Fire Alarm Panel. This unit is useful on sites with several buildings and provides staff with notifications of when a fire alarm activates. The Fire Alarm Module can also integrate to other alarm systems, such as panic buttons and affray strips. Using these modules will notify the ELL that a building’s fire alarm has been activated. The Fire Alarm Module integrates into any fire alarm system. It can potentially inhibit the fire alarm when a lockdown activates.
The Door Controller module allows staff to decide if a door should be locked or unlocked depending upon the situation. It will integrate to any existing electronic lock or access control system in that market, which will enable staff to remotely control the door or gate. The Door Controller Module can also integrate to other equipment around the door. This includes request to exit buttons, which can be inhibited if needed when activating a lockdown.
The Lift Module connects to the lift controller system. This unit overrides the lifts when the fire alarm activates when the building is in lockdown. This means that the lifts would not go to the ground floor, but to another floor. Also using the Lift Module will allow staff to remotely control a lift and place it in, or out, of action. This could help people escape, and slow or even trap attackers.
Public Address Speaker
We can distribute IP speakers around a site, normally in communal areas such hallways, stairwells, refectory areas and entrances/exits. Using one of the different Lockdown Leader Masters, designated staff can play pre-recorded messages. You can change this depending on the group of speakers. Staff can also talk live through the system to inform people of what’s happening, or to tell them how they need to leave the building. The speakers have a unique ability to allow for two-way communication to enable both parties to talk to one another.
Only designated staff can activate a lockdown. All other staff must be vigilant and make their colleagues aware as soon as a situation arises. Students, visitors or members of the public may also witness something. We can distribute IP Help Points across a site. They allow people to communicate directly with the ELLs making them aware that something has happened.
What happens next?
Want to know more about the Commend Lockdown solution? We can help you with your dynamic lockdown planning and implementation. Call us today on 0330 094 7404 or contact us here and we’ll be in touch to discuss your school’s safety further.
Related article Fire safety in schools – a 2020 guide