Lockdown Procedures

picture of Centennial Colleges Ashtonbee Campus Library from the road at sunset

What is a lockdown?

A lockdown is a response to a direct and immediate threat to the life and safety of a building’s occupants, such as an armed intruder on one of our campuses. During a real lockdown, occupants lock themselves into rooms, conceal their whereabouts or when necessary, evacuate the building. However, for lockdown drill purposes, we do not ask students to evacuate the building except in circumstances where they cannot find a place to take shelter.

Why is the College conducting lockdown drills?

Conducting lockdown drills allow us to test our state of readiness in the event of a serious situation, and to evaluate our Emergency Preparedness Plans and Procedures to make sure they work. The drills will also give the College Community an important opportunity to learn and practice our lockdown procedures.

How long will the lockdown drill last?

The lockdown drills should take about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of your campus. An actual lockdown would take hours, as the police would have to check every classroom, office and area of a campus, including the student centre, and every room and work area of the student residence and conference centre. Police would also have to screen everyone leaving the buildings to make sure the situation is safe and that all evidence is gathered.

I have a lab/class during the drill. Does my class need to participate?

Yes, everyone on our campus properties is required to participate in the drill. This includes faculty, staff, students, visitors and contract workers. If you have a lab or class or are waiting for student services, your instructor or an employee may give you special instructions that you will be expected to follow. For example, you may be asked to move into a classroom or office, help close the curtains or blinds, cover windows, or barricade a door with a table. 

What happens during the drill?

Each lockdown drill will start with an announcement made by security over the Campus Emergency Voice Communications System. Next, security will remotely lock interior doors with an electronic strike.

Once you hear the lockdown drill announcement, follow the Lockdown Procedures until Campus Security gives the All Clear announcement. The College will also be testing its alternate notification methods, like text messages and email blasts.

Please make sure you silence your phone and all other electronic devices, darken computer screens and remain completely quiet and out of sight and away from windows. Once you are hidden, stay there until the drill is over. Do not answer the door, even if someone knocks. 

If you are in an open area such as a library or cafeteria, look for a safe place to hide or leave the building and conceal yourself in a safe place outside. Follow any instructions that a College employee gives you.

Remember, this is just a practice: there is no real danger.

How will I know when the drill is over?

Once the lockdown drill is complete, the College’s security staff will make an All Clear Announcement over the Emergency Voice Communications System. The College will also send out an All Clear message using our alternative notification methods, e.g. text messages.

What should I do if I arrive at the College during the lockdown drill?

If you are driving, please remain in your automobile until the drill is complete. If you are using public transit, you will be required to wait in the parking lot. In the case of a real lockdown situation, police would block all cars and public transit from entering College property.

If I am not scheduled to be on campus during the lockdown drill, how will I know what to do in the event of a real lockdown?

If you will not be on campus during the lockdown drill, we recommend that you read the Lockdown Procedures.

Lockdown Procedures

During a lockdown, you remain inside a building, hidden from the person(s) causing a threat, or evacuating if it is your best option (e.g., you’re in an open area with no cover). However, during a lockdown drill, you will not evacuate the building unless you have no other options. Below are the steps you should take in a lockdown drill situation if you are in a classroom, office or public area.

If you are in a classroom or office:

  • Stay there.
  • If it is safe to do so, check the hallway or area outside the door and direct anyone out in the hallway or area to take cover in your room.
  • Remain calm and quiet
  • Close the door and lock it if possible, or barricade the door with tables and chairs – ask students to help if you need assistance.
  • Turn off the lights and, if possible, cover the door window and side panels. Keep out of sight.
  • If you are in classroom or room exposed by windows, take cover underneath a desk or behind a structure.
  • Help people with disabilities get to a safe place where they can hide, and if needed, help them to take cover.
  • Silence all communications devices (this includes cell phones, radios and televisions).
  • Remain completely quiet, as if no one is in the room.
  • Do not answer the door.
  • Listen for announcements from the Campus Emergency Voice Communications System and follow instructions.
  • If the Fire Alarm sounds while in Lockdown, assess the situation and respond accordingly:
    • If there are signs of smoke and/or fire, then evacuate.
    • If there are no signs of smoke or fire, then stay in lockdown.

If you are in a public area:

  • If you are in a hallway or waiting area, take shelter in the nearest room/office.
  • If you are in a large open space, e.g., Campus cafeteria, Progress Library and Academic Facility, Morningside Commons Area, Progress Student Centre Main Events Hall, and there is no shelter in the immediate area, you would evacuate in a real lockdown scenario and move a safe distance away from the campus where you would not be a target of an armed assailant.

In an actual lockdown situation, you would also do the following:

  • If you have information about the attacker or an injured person, call Police at 911 and be ready to provide as much information as possible.
  • Wait until emergency personnel arrive to escort you out of the building.