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What is the difference between Lockdown and Invacuation?

It’s 3pm, your staff are all wrapping up the last lesson of the day and an incident has happened outside the school. Whether that's a nearby chemical fire or reports of violence in the area with a police response, you can’t exactly let any pupils out until the problem is dealt with but also don’t want to cause a big panic. It’s best to do this in an organised and safe manner which is where invacuation and lockdown procedures come into the picture.

It’s best to be proportionate in your response to an issue so as not to cause any undue panic. There’s no need to completely lockdown a school when the day can continue as normal from within the building. But equally, it’s good to make everyone aware in the event of an attacker on the school grounds so they can act accordingly. Whatever that previously agreed upon course of action is, the staff and pupils can know to act accordingly and avoid any dangers.

What is an invacuation?

An invacuation is essentially the opposite of an evacuation. While an evacuation aims to get everyone outside and away from danger e.g. in the event of a fire. Invacuation on the other hand is useful for when the danger is outside and needs to be avoided. Everyone is kept within the building or on the premises and then prevented from leaving. An invacuation can be triggered by:

  • Loose animals on the school ground
  • Airborne gas or chemical pollution in the area
  • Dangerous disturbances in the area

This method is useful for completely separating students and staff from the possible danger outside and continue on with the day in a safe environment and limited panic.

What is a Lockdown?

A lockdown response is the more drastic of the two. A serious threat is present either on site or within the building. In this case, safety is the highest priority and it's common for procedures such as a designated safe area or the locking of all doors and avoiding lines of sight from outside to be in place. In cases like this where maybe an intruder has entered the halls, its important to let everyone in the school now without having to run around alert the person to your presence.`

Both of these situations are geared towards maximising the safety of the people within the school and so robust alerting measures should be taken to ensure that safety. Tense situations can often result in confusion as to what should be done and so clarity is vital. Fire alarms are a no go as it can send the wrong message that people should evacuate and leave the building but anything slower than a fire alarm is precious time lost in securing the school.

What can be done?

This is where systems like LOCAS come in. An alarm system designed with these exact situations in mind. Wirelessly connecting over a kilometre away to communicate with dozens of other alarms, it guarantees awareness across the school of what level of response should be used going ahead without giving away where anybody is or needing any movement from staff. All at a moments notice. Pairing this with systems like InVentry, which also integrates with Paxton, it’ll be easier to track if students or staff have left buildings recently or if there are any absences that would have previously been uncertain.

Year on year, there are more cases of civil disturbances within schools and an unfortunate rise in weapon (particularly knife) attacks within the UK. OFSTED reported a 68.4% increase from 2018-2019 in knife crime within schools specifically across England and Wales (excluding the Greater Manchester Police area). Meaning that school security measures can’t stagnate and need to develop in line with or faster than the dangers they can possibly face. If you’d like to learn more about this technology then fill in our contact form and we'll get back to you with answers to all of your questions.

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