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Lockdown Systems for Schools: What You Need to Know

School security is vitally important for educational institutions. They are responsible for keeping students and staff safe — but what does that require in practice?

Implementing robust school security measures is a complex challenge in the evolving threat landscape. Educational institutions must navigate myriad options, policies and technologies to create a comprehensive security strategy that safeguards lives while fostering an environment conducive to learning. 

One crucial aspect of school safety and security is the lockdown system for schools. Let’s examine how different lockdown systems can integrate with other advanced technologies to ensure a safe and secure educational environment.

What is a School Lockdown Security System?

Lockdown security systems for schools are comprehensive solutions that help secure school perimeters and buildings to ensure campus safety. These systems comprise various activation methods, including special card swipes, codes on school computers, one-touch buttons on mobile apps, or traditional lockdown buttons. The most advanced systems are scalable, accommodating the diverse requirements of various educational settings. 

Why are Lockdown Systems for Schools Important? 

School lockdown security systems are essential for ensuring the safety and security of students, staff, and faculty during emergencies. These systems facilitate a structured and efficient response to threats such as active shooters or intruders, increasing awareness and preventing panic. Communication tools integrated into the systems enable quick and coordinated actions, allowing administrators to relay important information to teachers, students, and staff.

It’s also important for parents to be informed of the safety measures schools have in place and to engage in the discourse surrounding school security. To empower parents and communities to have more impactful conversations about school security, LenelS2 launched On the Safe Side in collaboration with the National PTA. This program offers resources for parents to advocate for school safety and have difficult but necessary conversations with their children about safety. It also offers resources to school districts seeking funding for more robust security systems. 

What are the Types of Lockdown Systems for Schools? 

To safeguard students and staff, educational institutions must understand the various types of secure lockdowns available to them. Here’s a brief list of some of the most common.

Geographic Lockdown

These lockdowns secure specific areas of the school, such as cafeterias, gymnasiums, and specific buildings. Geographic lockdowns are particularly effective for managing localized incidents and minimizing potential risks within the facility. 

Full School Lockdown

Full school lockdowns are appropriate in response to an immediate emergency. This measure ensures a swift and unified response to active shooters or other threats.

Internal Threat Lockdown

Internal threat lockdowns are a fit for threats inside the school. This could include situations such as chemical spills or other potential hazards. This lockdown aims to keep students and staff safe while the threat is dealt with.

External Threat Lockdown

By proactively securing the school against external dangers like severe weather or other environmental threats, this lockdown type prevents the threat from affecting those inside the school. For example, during a snow day, a school could lock down the campus to keep students and staff out of harm's way. Or a school could lock down the campus during a community protest to keep students and staff separate. 

How Can Schools Ensure a Secure Lockdown?

In worst-case scenarios, initiating a secure lockdown is paramount for protecting students and staff. By following these steps, educational institutions can optimize their reaction times and act decisively in emergencies. 

Invest in a School Lockdown Security System

Schools can enhance their security by investing in a comprehensive lockdown system. LenelS2's OnGuard® and NetBox™ access control systems each offer lockdown technology that enables authorized individuals to rapidly initiate a lockdown, such as with a one-touch button on a mobile app, or a special swipe card. Additionally, these lockdown procedures can be customized to certain school areas for a more targeted approach if needed.

Have a Lockdown Plan in Place

In addition to ensuring basic school door security procedures, schools must establish a robust lockdown plan to protect the safety of students and staff. Schools should develop comprehensive procedures and protocols with first responders that address various scenarios, allowing for a well-coordinated and efficient response during emergencies.

Ensure First Responder Access

Swift access for first responders is crucial during emergencies. School lockdown systems should facilitate seamless entry for authorized personnel, enabling them to address the situation promptly.

Inform Staff and Students of the Lockdown and Security Procedures

Regularly communicating lockdown and security procedures is essential to keep everyone well-informed. Schools should proactively share information with staff and students, ensuring that they are familiar with the protocols and can respond appropriately during lockdown situations.

Establish Communication Protocol with Parents and Guardians

Creating a communication plan with parents and guardians is vital for maintaining transparency during lockdown situations. Schools should establish clear communication channels to provide timely updates and ensure that families are well-informed about the safety measures.

Regularly Hold School Lockdown Drills

Practice is key to swift and effective emergency response. Schools should conduct regular lockdown drills to familiarize students, staff, and first responders with the procedures, ensuring everyone is prepared in emergencies. 

Integrating School Lockdown Security with Other Technologies

A comprehensive school security strategy requires robust integrations between the lockdown solution and various other systems. From bolstering situational awareness to enabling seamless communication, the interconnectedness of these technologies is paramount for upholding security. 

Video Surveillance Management

Integrating video surveillance management enhances situational awareness by monitoring and analyzing potential threats. Combining video surveillance with access control and analytics allows for more efficient security operations.

Access Control

Access control systems enable lockdowns through mobile apps, providing schools with flexibility and immediate response capabilities. This in turn helps provide greater situational awareness during emergencies. 

Mass Notification

Cloud-based access control solutions with integrated mass notification capabilities allow on-premises broadcasting, improving emergency communication during times of crisis. Mass notifications can be critical during emergencies, but can also be used to send out information to parties that are not on campus like first responders and parents. 

How to Find the Right School Lockdown Security System

Selecting the right school lockdown security system is nuanced. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Educational institutions can tailor their security solutions to their specific needs by addressing the myriad elements that influence school security. 

Keep in Line with District Standards

LenelS2's browser-based security applications align with Microsoft, Apple, and Google standards, ensuring not only seamless integration but also compliance with widely adopted technology norms, promoting interoperability and efficient system management.

Compatible Integrations

LenelS2 also seamlessly integrates with other systems, including intrusion alarms, fostering a holistic security approach that maximizes the potential of various technologies. This compatibility allows schools to leverage diverse security tools for an integrated and robust defense strategy.

Simple and Intuitive to Use

The selected system should be crafted for user-friendly operation, requiring minimal professional training. This approach empowers staff with the confidence and capability to navigate the security system efficiently, contributing to a rapid and effective response during emergencies.

Scalable Across Districts

It’s not enough for a single school to be safe — districts must invest in school lockdown security systems that keep every school under their umbrella safe. A scalable system provides the flexibility to accommodate the varying requirements of different educational facilities within a district.

Use One-Button Lockdown Technology with LenelS2 to Secure Your Schools

To ensure the safety of staff and students, protect property, and provide peace of mind, school districts must invest in advanced lockdown systems for schools. 

LenelS2's OnGuard and NetBox access control systems each offer proven, trusted, open-access control solutions. Not to mention, educational institutions can lock down all their premises with a one-touch button or command. With scalable features, event and alarm monitoring, and seamless integration with video management, the OnGuard and NetBox systems each ensure a secure learning environment. 

For more information on securing your school with advanced lockdown systems, contact LenelS2 today.

Please note, the material provided is for informational purposes only, is general in nature, and is not intended to and should not be relied upon or construed as professional, medical or legal advice. Individuals and entities using or referencing the materials are encouraged to consult a professional regarding any specific circumstance.  LenelS2 expressly disclaims all responsibility and shall have no liability for any damages, injuries of any kind or any liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information set forth in these materials.

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Frequently Asked Questions About School Lockdown Systems

School lockdowns are emergency procedures that are put in place to immediately secure a school's buildings and grounds in situations of potential danger or threat, such as the presence of an intruder or nearby criminal activity. The primary objective of a lockdown is to safeguard students, staff, and visitors from harm by restricting movement, securing exits, and minimizing exposure to the threat until it is safely resolved or law enforcement has secured the area.

Lockdown systems in schools are typically operated through a centralized control system that can be manually triggered by authorized personnel or automatically triggered by specific threat sensors. When activated, the doors lock automatically, and alerts are sent out. The system may also connect with local law enforcement for further assistance.

Some industry experts recommend that you test your school lockdown procedure at least four times a year, within the first month of each school quarter. Although no national standard exists, around 45 states have a state statute or regulation to conduct safety or security drills.

Soft Lockdown: This is often referred to as a "lockout" and is used when the threat is outside the school. During a soft lockdown, the main objective is to keep the threat external by securing the perimeter of the school. Doors leading outside are locked, but activities within the school generally continue as normal. Students and staff are kept inside the building for their safety, but they may move freely within the premises.

Hard Lockdown: This is implemented when there is a direct and serious threat inside the school, such as an active shooter. During a hard lockdown, all students and staff are instructed to lock doors, turn off lights, and take cover in designated safe areas to stay out of sight. The movement is minimized or completely restricted to prevent any potential encounters with the intruder. Communication is often kept to only essential notifications via a PA system or communication devices until law enforcement clears the situation.

Schools can implement a lockdown system by first assessing their specific needs and vulnerabilities, consulting with security experts, and choosing a system that integrates well with existing security measures. Comprehensive training and regular drills are crucial for quick and efficient implementation.