Ganz Security
School Barrier for School Safety

Lockout vs. Lockdown

August 2022

With the unfortunate fact of mass shootings rising every day, more and more educators and students are wondering what their emergency protocols are. Lockdowns and lockouts are some of the most common procedures to utilize during an active shooter incident, but when should a school use one over the other? Here are the distinctions.*

During a lockout , there is restricted building access, but some limited movement within the building may be allowed. This occurs when the school has spotted a possible intruder on the premises and has been notified of a potential threat to students and staff. Emergency personnel may be called to the school to secure the premises.

lockdown includes safeguarding each occupied room by locking each door and directing students and staff to move away from windows and doors. Hallways are cleared of students and school staff. Typically, local law enforcement appears onsite to secure the school and arrange for evacuation or return to usual building activities. Students are kept in classrooms or other safe areas in the school until the lockdown has ended. Lockdowns occur when an intruder has entered the building or the school premises.

A lockdown is a typical procedure we hear about most often for schools when an active shooter enters the building.

Lockouts are mainly preventative, whereas lockdowns are a defensive means. Knowing what to do in either scenario can be lifesaving for schools’ students and staff.

Find out the critical role emergency communication technology plays during a lockdown or a lockout at and view a short video clip from our School Safety & Emergency Event Management webinar below:

Watch the rest of the webinar and download the presentation slides here .


*Each school should adhere to its state and local safety guidelines, pre-approved emergency protocols, and school procedures.

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