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9 Tips for More Effective School Lockdowns

3. Codes can kill.

Plan failure has occurred in actual events and in evaluations because school staff members often confuse different codes when they are used in a crisis. For example, during a recent security assessment of a school district, administrators at 22% of the schools we assessed accidentally ordered lockdowns instead of sheltering procedures in response to a tornado scenario. This could easily result in mass loss of life.

In another district, a staff member at one school referred to a “code purple” protocol that was not listed in any plan.  No other staff members referred to this protocol.  The staff member was able to describe in detail what a “code purple” would entail, but there was no way to be sure that other staff members would know what to do when hearing this instruction.

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