There is an emergency.

You’ve deemed the safest action is to stay indoors, rather than to evacuate.

Now, do you Lockdown or Shelter-in-Place? 

These two procedures are similar and can be confusing for both employers and personnel.

In our final part of the Shelter-in-Place & Lockdown 3-part Blog Series, we explore some quick tips to determine the most appropriate actions for the situation and how to keep your employees safe.

1.     Identify the Hazard or Threat

Does the situation involve violence of some sort, including dangerous individuals, riots, or police incidents? Is the danger to personnel within the building, or near the building? If so, a Lockdown procedure may be the most appropriate.

If the event is environmental, a hazardous spill or vapour, then Shelter-in-Place action would be a more appropriate response.

2.     Secure the Building

If a Lockdown situation is determined, when it is safe to do so, lock and barricade all the building doors. This creates a secure barrier between your employees and the threat outside.  

If a Shelter-in-Place situation is determined, it is best to keep doors unlocked in the event a quick escape is needed. Do not forget to turn off the H-VAC and air conditioning systems within the room or the hazardous materials could enter the building.

3.     Keep Employees Safe

In both situations, designate an area above ground, with minimal windows before an incident occurs. Finding a space with individual lockable doors and a method of communication, such as a landline telephone, can also prove to be beneficial for the safety of your team.   

For Lockdown, if the intruder is in the building, turn phones to vibrate and stay quiet.

Employees may be required to stay in the designated area for several hours, so ensure emergency supplies, including bottled water and a first aid kit, are easily accessible.

Overall, Shelter-in-Place and Lockdown may look similar, but Lockdown is a reaction to violence with an emphasis on not drawing attention to employees and preventing malicious access to them. Shelter-in-Place is protection from an environmental hazard, where actions are taken to limit the entry of outdoor air.

Designing a Plan and testing each scenario before it occurs helps employees understand the differences and to quickly implement the actions necessary to keep safe during a real event.


Download our complimentary infographic to help get your business started.

Interested in Learning More?

Check out our other two parts in this 3-series blog:

1. Sheltering-in-Place: Is your Business Prepared?

2. The Lockdown Process – Preparing your Business for Success

Please feel free to contact CCEM Strategies if you have any questions about Shelter-in-Place and Lockdowns, or need help getting your business’s Emergency Plans started.