March Lockdown, What You Should Know

Written by Ezra Ekman

Photo by Ezra Ekman


With increased frequency of security events across the country, FRCC has instituted lockout and lockdown procedures for the safety and security of students, faculty, and staff. On March 4, 5, or 6, Westminster campus will have a lockdown drill.


John VanZandt, Supervisor of Campus Security and Preparedness, explained what to expect during a drill.  


“A lockout is performed when the problem is outside of the building,” said VanZandt. “A lockdown is initiated when the problem is inside the building.  In a lockout, it’s business as usual inside.”


For both lockout and lockdown drills, announcements will be made over the internal and external PA system. During the lockout drill a message will repeat; ‘A lockout is in effect, remain inside, this is a drill.’


“They can expect a normal lockdown drill to last 10 to 15 minutes,” VanZandt said.  “In a real event, a lockdown could last for hours. For drill purposes, once we (security) have swept through the building, they will hear an ‘all clear’ that the drill is complete.  They’ll hear that 3 to 4 times over the loudspeakers. It will also pop up on all computers that are connected to the network.”

In a lockout situation VanZandt’s team would man the doors and prevent anyone entering or exiting the building, but regular business would proceed within the school until further notice.


“ An example of a lockout situation would be a law enforcement event taking place near the campus and we want to ensure everyone in the building doesn’t leave the building and interject themselves into a potential problem,” said VanZandt. “ The problem is outside the building and we want to keep it there.”


A lockdown occurs when someone in the building could potentially cause harm to people, campus security and law enforcement then deals with the event.  If you’re near an exit during a lockdown, get out and leave campus. If you’re not VanZandt says to get the the closest room and lock the door, turn off lights, turn off electronics, find a hiding place, and remain silent. He summarizes it as locks, lights, out of sight.


A fire alarm during a lockout or lockdown is a special case.  If a fire alarm goes off while in a lockdown, VanZandt recommends ignoring it.


“The reason is there have been some school shootings, and shootings in businesses, where they pulled the fire alarm to get everyone outside,” said VanZandt. “ The important thing to understand is that, if a fire alarm is pulled during a lockdown, that they stay put unless they feel, due to smoke or flame, that they have to leave.”


Around campus, the differences between the two types of events are sometimes unclear.


Oscar Alejandro Lejarazo Ventura, FRCC student said, “A lockout is when people aren’t allowed to enter or leave the building.  A lockdown is where you have to stay in the classroom.” He asked “Should I know anything else about a lockdown?”


Terrell Schlegel, a nearby student replied, “You should know what threat that actually means. So, a lockdown is there is a threat inside the building itself. They could be an armed individual or just someone who shouldn’t be there. A lockout is a threat out in the community or an event out in the community that could cause the student body harm. It’s different because one is a lot more real.”


All classrooms and departments have signs with instructions on such events as well. Campus Security encourages students, faculty, and staff to contact them with any questions or concerns.

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