Lockdown is a temporary sheltering technique used to limit exposure of building occupants to an imminent hazard or threat. When “locking down,” building occupants will shelter inside a room and prevent access from the outside.

Strategies for Effective Lockdown

No room can be made to be 100 percent inaccessible from an outside entrance, but below are few strategies that can make a room more feasible for lockdown:

  • Choose a room with a sturdy door and a strong lock
  • If possible, avoid locking down in room with glass windows or panes as they are easily penetrable
  • Be cognizant of which way the door opens
  • In addition to locking, fortify entrance ways with heavy items such as furniture
  • If possible, avoid limiting escape routes
  • Stay low and hide behind large items that may provide full or partial cover
  • Avoid detection
    • Be out of the view of the hazard (stay away from glass windows or doors)
    • Turn cell phones on silent (not vibrate, a vibrating phone is still audible)
    • Turn off room lights
    • Turn off other items that may cause noise such as TVs, radios, or web browsers

Notifying Building Occupants

The University notifies its community of an emergency using the cAlert system. However, due to the fast moving nature of a threat associated with lockdown, it may not be possible to notify building occupants in a timely manner. Therefore, notification to lockdown may come from your building manager, safety team, or coworkers.

It is important to note, if you feel your safety is jeopardized and lockdown is an appropriate strategy giving your circumstances, you do not have wait for an official notification to lockdown.

Lockout or Restricted Access versus Lockdown

“Lockout” or restricting access to a facility is different than lockdown and involves ensuring all ingress ways into a particular facility are inaccessible. The intent of lockout is to prevent an outside threat from entering a secure facility. When lockout procedures are activated, it is not necessary for internal doors to be locked and fortified, only for external entrance ways.

Notifying Law Enforcement

If an event warrants locking down, notify law enforcement as soon as possible, but only if it is safe to do so.

  • Alert UCPD by dialing 123 from campus phone or 773.702.8181 from non-campus phone
  • Or call 911

Interacting with Law Enforcement

When law enforcement arrives on the scene their primary goal will be to neutralize the threat, not to assist injured victims. Victims will be treated by emergency medical personnel.

Law enforcement will have limited information as to the location of the threat. Accordingly, when interacting with law enforcement, it is important to:

  • Remain calm, and follow officers’ instructions
  • Put down any items in your hands (e.g., bags, jackets)
  • Immediately raise hands and spread fingers
  • Keep hands visible at all times
  • Avoid making quick movements toward officers such as holding on to them for safety
  • Avoid pointing, screaming and/or yelling
  • Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which officers are entering the premises

Providing Information to Law Enforcement

Providing certain information will assist law enforcement when they arrive on-scene. This information includes:

  • Description of offender(s)
  • Number of offenders
  • Location of offender(s)
  • Description of weapon carried by offender and if it has been used
  • Number of potential victims
  • Any statements made by offenders


It is important to think about suitable lockdown rooms in a facility prior to an incident. Knowing what characteristics make a room more conducive to lockdown may help avoid serious danger during an incident.