Lock-down provision



A lockdown is a restriction policy for people, community or a country to stay where they are, usually due to specific risks (such as
COVID-19 Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease caused by a virus, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first known case was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The disease quickly ...
) that could possibly harm the people if they move and interact freely. The term is used for a prison protocol that usually prevents people, information or objects from leaving an area. The protocol can usually only be initiated by someone in a position of
authority In the fields of sociology and political science, authority is the legitimate power of a person or group over other people. In a civil state, ''authority'' is practiced in ways such a judicial branch or an executive branch of government.''The ...
. A lockdown can also be used to protect people inside a facility or, for example, a computing system, from a threat or other external event. In buildings doors leading outside are usually locked so that no person may enter or exit.


Procedures for using both emergency and preventive lockdowns must be planned.Why Schools Need 2 Types of Lockdowns
campussafetymagazine.com, June 14, 2012.

Preventive lockdown

A preventive lockdown is a preemptive action plan implemented to address an unusual scenario or a weakness in system to preempt any danger to ensure the safety and security of people, organisation and system. The focus for preventive actions is to avoid dangers and risks arising from the nonconformity to the normal circumstances, but also commonly includes improvements in efficiency. Preventive lockdowns are preemptive lockdowns to mitigate risk. Most organisations plan for the emergency lockdowns but fail to plan for other situations that might quickly degrade to dangerous levels. These protocols must be based on the type of threat, and should be kept simple and short for quick learning and implementation, and flexible enough to handle several scenarios. This allows administrators more options to choose from which are easier to use in various scenarios. For example, in case of a loud scene by a parent or an unarmed petty thief being chased by the police through the school playground, this flexible procedure allows school administrators the flexibility to implement a more limited lockdown while teaching in school continues, thus eliminating need for complete emergency lockdown, disruption and delays in resumption of teaching, etc. The consequences of not having procedures to implement such lockdowns is that the situation might quickly escalate where there could be loss of human lives.

Emergency lockdown

Emergency lockdowns are implemented when there is imminent threat to the lives or risk of injury to humans, for example, a school's emergency lockdown procedures must be kept short and simple to make them easier to use under real life crisis conditions. Simple procedures can be easily taught with periodic lockdown drills instead of lengthy training.

In epidemics and pandemics

Lockdowns can limit movements or activities in a community while allowing most organizations to function normally, or limit movements or activities such that only organizations supplying basic needs and services can function normally.

2009 swine flu pandemic

A lockdown was implemented in Mexico from April 30 to May 5, 2009 in response to the
2009 swine flu pandemic The 2009 swine flu pandemic, caused by the H1N1 influenza virus and declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) from June 2009 to August 2010, is the third recent flu pandemic involving the H1N1 virus (the first being the 1918–1920 Span ...

COVID-19 pandemic

During the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The novel virus was first identifie ...
, the term lockdown was used for actions related to mass
quarantine A quarantine is a restriction on the movement of people, animals and goods which is intended to prevent the spread of disease or pests. It is often used in connection to disease and illness, preventing the movement of those who may have be ...
s or stay-at-home orders. The first lockdown during the pandemic was implemented in Wuhan on January 23, 2020. By early April 2020, 3.9 billion people worldwide were under some form of lockdown—more than half the world's population. By late April, around 300 million people were under lockdown in European countries, while around 200 million people were under lockdown in Latin America. Nearly 300 million people, or about 90 per cent of the population, were under some form of lockdown in the United States, and 1.3 billion people have been under lockdown in India. The lockdown in the Philippines started on 14 March 2020 and is one of the longest and strictest lockdowns with varying levels of community quarantine being imposed on all major islands and cities. Similarly the lockdown in South Africa started on 27 March 2020 and progressed through various levels. It is also one of the strictest lockdowns in the world with cigarettes and alcohol banned throughout.

Typical scenarios


Lockdown procedures vary by site and country. Generally, a lockdown means that interior and exterior doors are locked, and all students and staff must remain in their location from the time the lockdown is announced. In some locations, windows are covered, and students stand at the back of the classroom or away from windows. Since the Columbine shooting in 1999 and the
September 11, 2001 attacks The September 11 attacks, commonly known as 9/11, were four coordinated suicide terrorist attacks carried out by al-Qaeda against the United States on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. That morning, nineteen terrorists hijacked four commerci ...
, lockdown procedures in schools have been changing. Some schools direct teachers to continue with standard procedures while remaining quiet, while some recommend an active approach against threats.


In prisons, the term ''lockdown'' can be defined as a course of action to control the movement of inmates. Confining all prisoners, except workers, to their cells until the end of the day is an example of a "lockdown period" in a corrections schedule. However a "full lockdown" is used when all prisoners are locked in their cells to prevent prison riots or unrest from spreading or during an emergency.


In US guidelines, occasions for preventing entry into a hospital may include: power failure,
earthquake An earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor or temblor) is the shaking of the surface of the Earth resulting from a sudden release of energy in the Earth's lithosphere that creates seismic waves. Earthquakes can range in intensity, fro ...
flooding A flood is an overflow of water ( or rarely other fluids) that submerges land that is usually dry. In the sense of "flowing water", the word may also be applied to the inflow of the tide. Floods are an area of study of the discipline hydrolo ...
fire Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material (the fuel) in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products. At a certain point in the combustion reaction, called the ignition point, flames are p ...
, bomb threat, hostage crisis and
active shooter Active shooter or active killer describes the perpetrator of a type of mass murder marked by rapidity, scale, randomness, and often suicide. The United States Department of Homeland Security defines an ''active shooter'' as "an individual actively ...
.Lockdown Policy
from California Hospital Association. Retrieved December 2012
Lockdown Policy
at Iroquois Healthcare Alliance. Retrieved December 2012
Occasions for preventing both entry and exit from a hospital may include: external contamination, civil disturbance and abduction of an infant or child.

Lean manufacturing process

In manufacturing, the term ''lockdown event'' refers to a
continuous improvement A continual improvement process, also often called a continuous improvement process (abbreviated as CIP or CI), is an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. These efforts can seek "incremental" improvement over time or "breakth ...
initiative in which manufacturing in a specific area (typically a cell or specific piece of machinery) is halted in order to contain, and determine, what are the issues that are preventing the manufacture of goods from meeting quality specifications. During the ''lockdown event'' a multi-disciplinary team reviews the specific area's manufacturing processes, tooling and machine condition, to find the root cause(s) of the problem(s). Once changes to the process, or machine repairs that may include adjustments or replacement are effected, a sample run is initiated and evaluated. If the results of the
validation Validation may refer to: * Data validation, in computer science, ensuring that data inserted into an application satisfies defined formats and other input criteria * Forecast verification, validating and verifying prognostic output from a numeri ...
are within the required specifications, the area lockdown is lifted and production is resumed. Follow-up sampling is conducted subsequently to ensure continuity of the lockdown results.

Historical events

In the wake of the September 11 attacks (2001), a three-day lockdown of American
civilian Civilians under international humanitarian law are "persons who are not members of the armed forces" and they are not " combatants if they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war". It is slightly different from a non-combatant, ...
airspace Airspace is the portion of the atmosphere controlled by a country above its territory, including its territorial waters or, more generally, any specific three-dimensional portion of the atmosphere. It is not the same as aerospace, which is th ...
was initiated. At the
University of British Columbia The University of British Columbia (UBC) is a public research university with campuses near Vancouver and in Kelowna, British Columbia. Established in 1908, it is British Columbia's oldest university. The university ranks among the top thre ...
(UBC) on January 30, 2008, an unknown threat was made, and the
Royal Canadian Mounted Police The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP; french: Gendarmerie royale du Canada; french: GRC, label=none), commonly known in English as the Mounties (and colloquially in French as ) is the federal and national police service of Canada. As poli ...
(RCMP) issued a lockdown order on one of the buildings on campus for six hours, cordoning off the area. A campus alert was sent via email to everyone affiliated with UBC, while those in the building remained locked in it. On April 10, 2008, two Canadian
secondary school A secondary school describes an institution that provides secondary education and also usually includes the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools provide both '' lower secondary education'' (ages 11 to 14) and ''upper second ...
s were locked down due to suspected firearm threats. George S. Henry Academy was locked down in
Toronto Toronto ( ; or ) is the capital city of the Canadian province of Ontario. With a recorded population of 2,794,356 in 2021, it is the most populous city in Canada and the fourth most populous city in North America. The city is the ancho ...
Ontario Ontario ( ; ) is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada.Ontario is located in the geographic Eastern Canada, eastern half of Canada, but it has historically and politically been considered to be part of Central Canada. Located ...
at approximately 2:00 p.m. The Emergency Task Force (TPS) were contacted and the lockdown lasted for more than two hours. New Westminster Secondary School was locked down in
New Westminster New Westminster (colloquially known as New West) is a city in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia, Canada, and a member municipality of the Metro Vancouver Regional District. It was founded by Major-General Richard Moody as the cap ...
British Columbia British Columbia (commonly abbreviated as BC) is the westernmost province of Canada, situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains. It has a diverse geography, with rugged landscapes that include rocky coastlines, sandy beaches, f ...
at approximately 1:40 p.m. The Emergency Response Team (ERT) was called, and the school was under lockdown until 4:30 p.m. Due to the size of the school some students were not able to leave until 7:00 p.m. On April 19, 2013, the entire city of
Boston Boston (), officially the City of Boston, is the state capital and most populous city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as well as the cultural and financial center of the New England region of the United States. It is the 24th- most ...
, US was locked down and all public transportation stopped during the manhunt for terrorists Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the perpetrators of the
Boston Marathon bombing The Boston Marathon bombing was a domestic terrorist attack that took place during the annual Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. Two terrorists, brothers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, planted two homemade pressure cooker bombs, ...
, while the town of Watertown was under heavily armed police and SWAT surveillance, and systematic house-to-house searches were carried out. In Belgium, its capital Brussels was locked down in 2015 for days while security services sought suspects involved with the
November 2015 Paris attacks The November 2015 Paris attacks () were a series of coordinated Islamist terrorist attacks that took place on Friday, 13 November 2015 in Paris, France, and the city's northern suburb, Saint-Denis. Beginning at 9:15p.m., three suicide bomber ...
. Later in 2015, a terror threat caused the 2015 Los Angeles Unified School District closure. In August 2019, the Indian government imposed a lockdown on Jammu and Kashmir after the revocation of the special status of the state, by communications and media blackout, claiming that the lockdown was to curb terrorism. According to
Merriam-Webster Merriam-Webster, Inc. is an American company that publishes reference books and is especially known for its dictionaries. It is the oldest dictionary publisher in the United States. In 1831, George and Charles Merriam founded the company as ...
, the first known use of lockdown occurred in 1973, referring to the confinement of prisoners. Tracking usage changes through events reported up to 1999 in ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' (''the Times'', ''NYT'', or the Gray Lady) is a daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership reported in 2020 to comprise a declining 840,000 paid print subscribers, and a growing 6 million paid ...
'':The New York Times ''TimesMachine''
/ref> :Feb 12, 1974, Violent Inmates Are Isolated at San Quentin contains the first reference to ''lockdown''. :Jul 29, 1998, Children in Tow, Tourists Stream to Capitol to Mourn Its Guardians, By Lizette Alvarez: "Friday's act by a gunman prompted few calls for a lockdown of the Capitol." :Oct 25, 1998, Report Card in Yonkers On New Schools Chief, By Elsa Brenner: "Dr. Hornsby declared a lockdown in the city's high schools, informing 6,000 students that they could no longer ventue off campus for pizzas and Chinese food." :Nov 8, 1998, No More Rotten Odors, Sewage Protesters Say, By David Koeppel: "At Seaford Harbor School, Principal Barbara Bauer, who attended the rally, acknowledged that the smells had resulted in one 'lockdown' in the past year. On Oct. 26, parents say, a lockdown was declared at another school, Mandalay elementary." :Feb 10, 1999, As Senate Goes Into Lockdown, Quiet Fills Capitol, By Frances X. Clines: "the Senate went into lockdown with President Clinton's fate in its hands." :Jun 6, 1999, In Brief: School Hot Line: "there has also been 'a massive security lockdown' at all Yonkers schools. ...All but one entrance door in each school is locked, and safety officers are stationed at each. Everyone entering school buildings is being scanned for weapons." :Aug 13, 1999, Schools in New York Area Reassess Safety for Students, By Randal C. Archibold: "The shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., have led school officials in the New York City metropolitan area to reassess security and in some cases to make changes to minimize threats. At one extreme is West Hartford, Conn., where administrators devised what they termed a 'lockdown' drill in which students and teachers, practicing in case there should be a shooting, lock all doors and stay put until they are told that the police have arrived."

See also

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External links

*{{Wiktionary-inline Criminology Penal imprisonment Emergency management