January 2024


Barton Dunant defines a Lockout very differently from a Lockdown. While those words sound somewhat similar, they have very different meanings when it comes to a no-notice (or little notice) incident, including an active assailant attack.

Lockouts mean not one comes in a building and no one goes out. If a campus of multiple buildings is on lockout, it means every building is locked out – and if you are inside the campus you should stay in the building you are in; and if you are outside of the campus you will not be able to (nor should you try) to get inside the campus. A lockout is a stricker set of rules and protocols than a shelter-in-place order, but it is a form of sheltering-in-place, as compared to evacuating.

A Lockdown should be different from a Lockout. A Lockout is ordered when the threat (such as an Active Assailant) is near your location, but not (yet!) a direct threat to you or others in your building or on your campus. When a building or a school goes on Lockout, it should mean that the threat is not on campus and no one goes in and no one comes out (except emergency services). Lockouts can become Lockdowns, when the threat does move to your building. 

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Lockouts should also mean that the ‘business as usual within a building should change. People need to be informed that the building is in lockout, and why. If there is any timeframe for the lockout, let them know that as well, too. People must be informed when the lockout is ‘over’ and normal operations have resumed. This is true for all the people in the building and your staff who may be away from the building. Here’s one difference between a shelter-in-place order and lockout: if you are outside of a building when it goes into lockout, they should not let you in. If the people in a building are just sheltering-in-place – for severe weather warnings, for example – they should let you in the building, since it is safer for you to be inside than outside. In a lockout, the people inside of the building do not know if or who the threat is, coming to them. They need to become aware of and prepared if things get worse.

Lockdown should be different from a Lockout. A Lockout is when the Active Assailant is near your location, but not (yet!) a direct threat to you. When a building or a school goes on Lockout, it should mean that the threat is not on campus and no one goes in and no one comes out (except emergency services). Lockouts can become Lockdowns, when the threat does move to your building

Here’s a real life example of how this can play out:

Municipal-wide School Districts Shelter-in-Place vs. Lockout

So an incident occurs in one school. Happens to be a private high school in town A. Town A’s police department orders all of Town A’s schools to Shelter-in-Place. This is except for that one private high school, which goes on Lockout. No Schools are in “Lockdown” – as there is not an active assailant threat. Even that private high school where the incident occurred is not invoking it’s “Avoid, Deny, Defend” or “A.L.I.C.E.” or other protocols, at this time. As we note in our Lockout protocols, there are many more missions and activities in a Lockdown than in a lockout or a shelter-in-place incident.

Here’s the trickier part:
Town A shares its public school district with Town B. They too, have a police department, and will provide mutual aid to the schools in town A, through an agreement. Town A also has a seperate magnet school district, at least two other private schools, and a state school for children with severe disabilities. Per the order of Town A’s police department, all of those other schools shelter-in-place. They suspend outdoor activities, field trips, etc. for the day, but otherwise learning and other internal school activities continue. This incident is treated as if it were like a severe weather alert (think tornado watch, not warning). Lower grade students in those schools, may not even be aware that something is different today.

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2024 Reading List

Here’s what we are reading (or hope to!) in 2024:

And if you want more book ideas – with some excellent commentary/reviews, please check out Marc C. Baker’s blog “The Baker’s Dozen” on the Emergency Management Network.

Stop the Killing – How to End the Mass Shooting Crisis by Katherine Schweit

The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt

Introduction to Crowd Science by G Keith Still

Hospital Emergency Management – A Bible for Hospital Emergency Managers by Dr. Robert J. Muller

A Code for the Government of Armies in the Field; as authorized by the laws and usages of war on land by Francis Liebe

When the Dust Settles: Stories of Love, Loss and Hope from an Expert in Disaster by Lucy Easthope

Retellable – How Your Essential Stories Unlock Power and Purpose by Jay Golden

The Devil Never Sleeps – Learning to Live in an age of Disasters by Juliette Kayyem

Insider Threats edited by Matthew Bunn and Scott D. Sagan

Leaders Eat Last – Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek

Moment of Truth: The Nature of Catastrophes and how to Prepare for Them by Kelly McKinney

Apocalypse Ready – The Manual of Manuals A Century of Panic Prevention – Taras Young

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visit us at www.BartonDunant.com for emergency management training and consulting

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And if you want to access our prior reading lists, here they are below.

2023 Reading List
2022 Reading List
2021 Reading List
2020 Reading List

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