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21 Second Lockdown!


posted February 26, 2016

Why must schools practice a lockdown as the end of the year approaches?

Because many of the worst (if not the majority) of school attacks seem to occur during March, April, and May. (Below is a small, but in no way complete list).


Attack Dates


While school attacks certainly occur throughout a school year, March, April, and May is a time of greater risk. I believe that this is simply because the attacker feels he must act before the end of the school year.

So please, please practice a lockdown as soon as possible!

I’m not going to tell you to do a lockdown without also offering to help you to be successful. I’m going to provide you with...

    1. An easy plan you can follow
    2. Required Actions & Critical Tasks for teachers to complete during a lockdown
    3. A brief video that you can share with your teachers
    4. A short letter to send to parents

…I’m also offering a free 1-hour webinar on 8 March 2016 (to discuss as well as answer your questions and help problem solve with you to make your drill more successful.

This drill is not difficult and your return of investment is unbelievable! You could save lives, reduce physical harm, and limit emotional suffering in exchange for 33 minutes of instructional time (30 minute teacher professional development + 3 minute drill). Besides, I'll give you everything you need and help as much as you need.

So please, please practice a lockdown as soon as possible!

(Below is a list of the items you can use. These are a resource for you and your teachers. Please use as much as you need! If you’d rather download and print it out, click here)




plan for lockdown


The purpose of this practice lockdown is to enhance teacher skills as well as to instill the necessity for teachers to ACT FAST. Since most school attacks last between 4 and 11 minutes, every second matters and teachers must be able to lockdown their classrooms within seconds.


This is not a drill for the administrators or other school leadership. This is for teachers. They are the critical element in any crisis because they have direct control over the students and they must be able to effectively lockdown their classrooms within seconds.  




  1. Read over the PLAN FOR CONDUCTING A LOCKDOWN, Required Actions & Critical Tasks, and watch the teachers’ video
  2. Email or call with questions and I’ll address them individually or during the webinar.
  3. Attend the free1-hour Webinar scheduled for 8 March 2016.
  4. Schedule a brief professional development (30 minutes). This is when you are going to tell your teachers about the upcoming drill, give them the materials and make sure they’re ready.
  5. During the professional development:
      • Show your teachers the included video.
      • Give the teachers the Required Actions & Critical Tasks sheet (have them read over and answer any questions).
      • State that the drill will take place within a week or give them the date (do it as soon as possible after the professional development).
      • Read aloud to the teachers the announcement you will use to initiate the lockdown (consider using this one because if read slowly, it will take approximately 21 seconds. This is the time we must meet or beat!).
      • “This is only a drill, this is only a drill. Lockdown, lockdown, lockdown. Our school is conducting a crisis drill. Teachers, students, and staff members this is a lockdown. Lockdown, lockdown, lockdown. This is only a drill. Teachers, students, and staff members this is only a drill. Lockdown, lockdown, lockdown."

      • Remind the teachers that every classroom must have completed the following steps of the CRITICAL TASKS before you conclude reading the announcement.
          1. Close and lock the door.
          2. Cover the door window.
          3. Turn off lights.
          4. Cover windows.
          5. Move away from the door and into your predetermined hide position.
          6. Silence & calm others.
          7. Silence cell phones.
          8. Silence school radios.
      • Emphasize that the entire drill will only last 3 minutes, the approximate time that it will take for law enforcement to arrive on campus. 
      • Conclude your professional development with assigning the teachers three tasks to complete before the drill. Can be practiced at a slower speed!
          1. Practice the critical tasks at least once on their own.
          2. Practice the critical tasks at least once with their students.
          3. Have the teachers allow a few minutes for questions from the students.
  6. Send letter to the parents letting them know that you are about to conduct a drill.
  7. Inform District Office as well as local law enforcement that you are conducting a drill.
  8. On the day of the drill, post someone by the front door to greet visitors and to ensure they know it’s only a drill.
  9. Conduct the drill (let it last no more than 3 minutes. Remember, this is to enhance skills as well as to instill the necessity for speed on the part of the teachers).
  10. Thank the teachers and students.
  11. Evaluate and make corrections as needed.
  12. Please, please, please let us know if you used these materials and if they were helpful! Any feedback about how our resources are making a difference is very appreciated!



  1. The purpose of this drill is to focus on the teachers and to help them perfect the ability to quickly and effectively transition into a lockdown or HIDE. It is not to practice clearing the halls and other locations, managing visitors, or releasing from a lockdown. The single most critical element in a lockdown is that the teachers lockdown (hide) within 21 seconds or less!


    Every other aspect of a lockdown is secondary to a teacher being able to immediately transition into a lockdown and can be practiced at a later time.


  2. During your professional development, read the lockdown announcement to your teachers. Stress to them that as soon as they hear this announcement begin, they are to go into a lockdown and their goal is to complete all critical tasks and be in a HIDE position with their students before the announcement is complete.
      • It will take approximately 21 Seconds to read the included announcement if read slowly and our teachers must be able to meet this time—or beat it!


  3. Do not let the drill last any longer than 3 minutes because we’re trying to stress speed and efficiency in our teachers when a lockdown is necessary. We’re also trying to instill confidence in our teachers that they are not alone during a crisis by showing them firsthand how short 3 minutes really is as that is the approximate time it will take for law enforcement to arrive on campus. During your professional development training, emphasize this point!


  4. When you release them from the drill, consider saying this over the intercom:

        “Teachers, students, and staff members, this concludes our lockdown. The entire exercise lasted only three minutes. Thank you for your patience and hard work. You are released from lockdown.”

  5. Email your teachers (or hold a short debriefing) after the drill and ask them to share whether they were able to compete all the tasks in the allotted time and if they have any suggestions for improvement.

  7. Above all, emphasize speed without jeopardizing efficiency and the necessity of ACTING FAST because every second matters.



plan for lockdown


[Every teacher, regardless of the nature or extent of the attack must do these required actions]

  1. ACT FIRST! If you see the threat before he or she has started the attack, ACT FIRST and initiate a lockdown. If the attacker is getting close to you, ACT FIRST and implement an element of run, hide, and/or fight to keep the attacker away.
  2. ACT FAST! Whatever combination of run, hide, and/or fight you choose to implement…ACT FAST and do it immediately because every second matters!
  3. ACT NOW! Take whatever actions you can, but ACT NOW to survive and help your students to survive.


[During a lockdown, complete these CRITICAL TASKS in the following order.]

Points to Remember:

  1. Before you lock your door, consider pulling in any students who are near your classroom.
  2. If your door cannot lock, barricade as quickly and quietly as possible.
  3. After locking or barricading, move away from door and into your best cover (stop a bullet) and/or concealment (can’t be seen by attacker) position.
  4. If it has not already happened, call a school-wide lockdown and use plain language.
        • Example: “Lockdown, lockdown, lockdown. A man with a gun by room 136. Lockdown, lockdown, lockdown.
  5. Noise and movement attract attention so limit both when barricading, moving, and when using radios and cell phones.
  6. Continually evaluate the situation & plan your next actions:
    1. Identify where the threat is by listening and determine if it is getting closer.
    2. If the attacker is getting closer and you feel you can’t keep him away from you and your students, plan and be prepared to implement another element or combination of run, hide, and fight. Know your escape route and your next course of actions.



Teacher Video



To download and use this free professional development video, as well as receive other materials and resources, simply do the following:

  1. Fill out the form below.
  2. Please use your school and/or police email. This free resource is only for active school personnel and law enforcement professionals.
  3. Once we verify you're eligible to download the video, we'll send you a link with download instructions.
  4. The video is maintained on our member's site so you'll have to create an account...takes only seconds and any changes or updates to the video you'll recieve it automatically!

letter to parents


Dear Parents,
I wanted to give you a quick heads up that we will be practicing a lockdown drill in the next few weeks. Like a fire drill or hazardous weather drill, we routinely conduct safety exercises to ensure our school community is prepared for any situation.

We take school safety as seriously as we do educational excellence and we’re always trying to improve. Teachers, students, and staff members are a critical component in helping to make our school safer and so are parents. If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know.

Thank you,



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