Lockdown versus

Understanding the differences between the two
terms is important

What's the difference?

While lockdown and lockout may seem similar, and are often used interchangeably by organizations, there are some key differences.


lockdown refers to a situation in which building occupants need to remain in locked, or locked down, interior rooms, with their door barricades in place, and hidden from view. A lockdown normally occurs if a dangerous person is physically threatening the building. Not all lockdowns are in response to an active shooter threat, and some are preventative.


lockout is a situation in which the exterior of the building is secured and all occupants that are outside are brought inside for safety. A lockout is usually in response to a potentially dangerous situation nearby in which building administrators or local law-enforcement believe it is not safe to be outside the building. Normal activities can often resume within the building, but until an all-clear is received, occupants should stand ready for the potential for a lockdown. A lockout in The LockOut SmartBoot System is referred to as “secure mode”, to avoid confusion between the terms “lockdown” and “lockout”.

Confusing Terms

If you hear the terms lockdown or lockout and are confused by the difference, just remember that a lockdown is usually interior doors being barricaded and locked. Think of it from the perspective of those inside the building. If you are on “lockdown”, you aren’t allowed to leave a room or location. For a lockout, again, think of it from the perspective of yourself in the building. You are trying to prevent access to the building by “locking out” anyone who may be trying to enter.

Which Doors Are Secure?

Usually, during a lockout, exterior doors are locked, but interior doors are kept open as normal activity may resume inside the building. In many cases, a lockdown has been triggered because a threat is already inside the building, so attempting to lock exterior doors may be impossible, or may be counter-productive as law enforcement and first-responders may need to enter the building to apprehend the suspect or help those inside. In nearly every case, door barricades are not to be used on exterior doors.

Quickly Secure Your Doors

For a door barricade to be useful, it must have the ability to be deployed quickly and easily. Time is precious in a lockdown situation, so disruptions or slowdowns simply cannot occur.

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