Security Lockdown: What is it and how does it work?

In a time of crisis, it is important to have in place a security lockdown. In moments like this, every second counts, and this is why you need to have a security lockdown protocol in place before the crisis hits. 

A security lockdown procedure allows you to have measures in place to keep staff and others safe. A security lockdown plan means there are steps in place in the event of a crisis so that no one is left wondering about how to respond. 

Of course, no one wants to think about such times of crisis. Security systems are in place, for the most part, to prevent crisis points. Nevertheless, critical events happen, even with the best preventative measures in place. This is why you need to think about a security lockdown plan. 

What is a security lockdown? What are the benefits of a security lockdown? And what steps should you take to make sure you have an effective security lockdown plan in place? This guide will give you the basic information on a security lockdown. 

What is a Security Lockdown?

Home Security

A security lockdown is a plan to limit exposure to any threat in the event of a crisis. A security lockdown usually includes orders to shelter in place or in a designated secure location, usually a room with a sturdy and secure door. The point of a security lockdown is to ensure the immediate safety of all occupants on the premises.  

No room is 100 percent secure, but there are some strategies you can have in place to render a given area as secure as possible. 

  • Choose a room with a strong lock. 
  • Take care to see which direction the door opens. 
  • Fortify the door in addition to locking it.
  • Do not limit escape routes. 
  • Stay under partial cover. 
  • Avoid detection. This means turning cell phones to silent, turning off room lights, turn off other electronic devices such as TVs, radios, and web browsers. 

Notify all building occupants. 

Lockout restrictions. This is a procedure that locks all doors and refuses access to anyone who attempts to enter the premises. 

Notify law enforcement and other emergency services. Call 911. Your security system should be connected to law enforcement and emergency services for automatic calls. 

Security Lockdown benefits

A comprehensive security lockdown system makes it possible for you to secure an entire building in one step. When your security system is set up to include lockdown procedures, everything from initial door security to calls to police and emergency services is ready to be implemented in the event of a crisis. 

Security lockdown procedures will instantly secure all doors and windows. Rather than taking time to lock entries, the security lockdown mechanisms will secure any designated entry points. 

You can have your security lockdown system send alert messages to cell phones and computers warning occupants of the situation. Everyone will receive an alert. 

Alarms and alert strobes can be included in your security lockdown protocols to make it clear that there is a crisis situation and emergency measures are in place.   

Perhaps one of the chief benefits of a security lockdown procedure is that it can alert law enforcement and emergency services from one single location and with a straightforward step. This measure can be programmed to tell law enforcement and emergency the exact nature of the emergency. 

Levels of a Security Lockdown

Security lockdowns come in different forms. This is why your security lockdown procedure should be broken into levels depending on the severity of the issue. The levels of security lockdown generally follow the following gradation:

  1. Normal access: There is no security or safety threat. Normal access and operation. 
  2. Controlled lockdown: There is or may be a threat to safety that has not yet been identified. Access to buildings or specified areas is restricted. Only security and designated personnel are allowed to enter restricted areas. A controlled lockdown may be broken into the following protocols:
  • Type 1 Exit Only: Security personnel is assigned to all perimeter doors and access points. All personnel is screened as they enter the premises. 
  • Type 2 Entry Only: Security personnel is assigned to all perimeter doors and access points. All personnel is screened as they exit the premises.
  • Type 3: Control of exits and entries. Security personnel is posted to all perimeter exits and entries. All are screened upon entering and leaving the premises. 
  • Type 4: Department lockdown. This type of lockdown regulates a specific department or area. The area of the premises would be closed. Security personnel is posted and all entries and exits. 
  1. Total Lockdown: This is the highest level of security lockdown. This is reserved for life-threatening situations. During a total lockdown, all perimeter doors are secured. No one is allowed to enter the grounds. Security personnel and designated employees are posted at secure points of access. 

To see that these measures are followed and put in place, you must also have a full response plan when an incident occurs. This usually follows a series of stages:

  1. Initial detection of a potential or actual threat. Staff or security personnel detect the presence of a potential or real threat. This should immediately trigger all lines of communication to those responsible for responding to an emergency. 
  2. Upon notification of a real or potential threat, access control mechanisms should be initiated to restrict access from the potential threat and to restrict those who could be injured by the threat. 
  3. Determination of threat level. This would fall under the responsibility of security personnel and senior personnel to determine the level of a real threat. From this determination, you would then initiate the specific type of lockdown. 
  4. Lockdown procedures: From controlled lockdown to total lockdown, depending on the level of the threat.  

Keep in mind that these are the most general procedures for an emergency security lockdown. Different types of contexts require different types of responses. Schools and hospitals typically have more rapid responses to potential threats without waiting to determine if there is a real threat. This is for obvious reasons. 

Business owners who want to prepare for an emergency security lockdown should take stock of the kinds of threats to which their business might be susceptible. Operations that maintain stocks of potentially hazardous materials will want to think about a more rigorous security lockdown measure. 

Importance of Security Cameras in a Security Lockdown

In the event of a crisis situation, security cameras play a crucial role. One of the best uses of security cameras in the event of a crisis is early detection and prevention. 

Security cameras offer primary access to anything that is happening on and around your property. Before an intruder enters a building, or even before an intruder enters your property, security cameras show security personnel and other designated personnel exactly what people are doing as they enter the grounds.

HD security cameras provide you with detailed images that make it possible to assess potentially dangerous situations more accurately. The details from HD security cameras can mean the difference between a false alarm and the kind of response that prevents a genuine tragedy. 

IP security cameras make it possible for you and your security staff to survey situations from a safe distance and to control the security cameras to focus on specific areas that may present a threat. The ability to monitor and control from a remote space can make it possible for security staff to control situations while they are moving around the premises. 

Security cameras with audio capabilities can let you know the nature of interactions between people before they enter the grounds. Audio capabilities with your security cameras can detect things like yelling and conflict language that alerts you to a potential problem or threat. 

Finally, in the event of an extreme threat and lockdown situation, security cameras provide video evidence of everything that happened. This is not just to prove criminal activity on the part of an intruder or offended. Video evidence also provides proof that you and your security personnel acted properly and took all necessary steps to protect both life and property. 

Security cameras are your first alert and your final evidence of any threatening or dangerous situation that could initiate a security lockdown. 

Importance of Access control in a Security Lockdown

Access control offers you a way to manage where and when people can leave and enter specific areas of the grounds. It is really a way to make sure people do not gain access to areas of your property where they can injure themselves or cause damage. Even in the absence of a crisis situation that would precipitate a security lockdown, access control makes sense for basic safety precautions. 

In the event of a security lockdown, access control makes it possible for you to immediately take charge of who can enter and leave buildings. Access control also makes it possible for you to restrict access to and from specific parts of the grounds. This can prevent or limit damage and injury in the event of a threat. 

Access control in conjunction with security cameras tied to a security system is the best way to prevent situations from becoming a crisis. In the event of a real crisis, these security measures drastically limit damage and threats to life. 

Causes of a Security Lockdown

Depending on the nature of your specific security responsibilities, the causes for a security lockdown can vary. In the case of schools and hospitals, for example, lockdown protocols can be rigorous and in response to even the most minimal suggestion of danger. Some businesses deal with dangerous chemicals. These will have their own specific concerns and protocols. In general, a security lockdown will follow in response to the threat of any of the following:

  • Power failure
  • Earthquake
  • Flooding
  • Fire
  • Bomb threat
  • Mass contamination
  • Civil disturbance
  • Hostage situation
  • Active shooter

In some cases, a security lockdown can come as a response to child or infant abductions or an infant monitoring alarm such as you find in hospitals. 

It is important to have a security lockdown procedure in place in the event that something dangerous happens on your property. Your business needs to be protected against all possibilities, and severe situations do happen. Circle Security Solutions can help you get your business prepared for even the worst situations. 

The best way to deal with bad situations is to take steps to prevent them from getting out of control. Security lockdown is one of those steps. From 24-hour security camera monitoring complete with audio to access control mechanisms, Circle Security Solutions and our team of professionals can help you set up the best security system for your business and property. 

We offer security and fire alarm systems, 24-hour central monitoring, HD surveillance, and home control and automation. Whether you want a simple security camera system for your home or a full security system that includes HD video monitoring and recording, Circle Security Solutions can provide you with a system that meets your needs.  

Circle Security Solutions is the premier security professional for South Florida, serving Miami, Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, Broward County, and Miami-Dade Counties. 


No one wants to imagine that something terrible will happen at their business. People are simply running their businesses, and the last thing they want to think about is a severe crisis situation. But anyone who pays attention to the news will understand that terrible thing happen, and they happen in completely unlikely places. This is why security measures need to include steps for a security lockdown. 

A security lockdown can be broken into increasing levels of threat. The process does not need to be all or nothing. Nevertheless, a system should be in place so that you and your designated personnel know how to respond to an extreme security threat. 

Circle Security Solutions has the equipment and expertise to help you prepare for and implement a security lockdown procedure. From initial detection to automated mechanisms to alert law enforcement and emergency personnel, we can get you set up for the unthinkable.