Matt Hodges-Long 04/01/2017

When we hear a fire alarm we have been conditioned from our earliest years to get out or evacuate, but what do we do in a situation where we need to be made aware of danger and evacuation is not always the best course of action? Different emergency situations will require different types of response, including: Evacuate, Invacuate or Lockdown. Do your employees know what to do in a workplace emergency and have they practiced their response to make it instinctive?

The tragic events in Paris on 7th January 2015 demonstrated the need for neighbouring businesses to have a clearly communicated “Lockdown” policy.

Here is a rundown of the 3 main workplace emergency drills and when you would employ them:


Orderly removal of staff from the building usually due to a fire or other incident within the building;


Staff made aware of an emergency and move to the most sheltered areas within the building, away from external windows and other exposed areas. Invacuation is typically employed if moving outside would increase the risk to staff, ie. Bomb Threat nearby, Toxic Fumes in the air etc;


Lock external doors and windows and take immediate shelter in a secure location, such as a cupboard or locked meeting room, until such time as the all clear signal is raised. Lockdown would typically be used as a response to a security incident or threat. Government advice on implementing a lockdown policy.

In some organisations Invacuate and Lockdown are combined for simplicity, ie. Get Out or Stay Put.

These emergency drills can make the difference between life and death, they are relatively easy to write into a policy and rehearse, so there really is no excuse not to amend your emergency drills right now.