SRP 2021: “Lockout” Now “Secure” and other Updates

July 28, 2020 / by The "I Love U Guys" Foundation

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We’re excited to announce updates in the 2021 version of the Standard Response Protocol (SRP 2021). The mission of The “I Love U Guys” Foundation has always included a commitment to ongoing review and improvement of our programs, created by listening to and learning from others. This consistent gathering of feedback has led to the SRP 2021 updates.

The most significant update in SRP 2021 is the terminology in one of the five primary actions indicated in the protocol. 

In SRP 2021, we have replaced the word “Lockout” with “Secure” to indicate the guidance “Get inside, lock outside doors”

We have already heard that this change will allow more school districts to adopt the SRP. While this is fantastic, we realize that those who have already implemented the SRP will be dealing with a change. With the rollout of the SRP 2021, we will be providing guidance to help with the transition, and are confident that it will ultimately be a positive change for all. 

We’ve got more details for you below.

What is the Standard Response Protocol?

SRP is the Standard Response Protocol developed by The “I Love U Guys” Foundation. It features five actions: Hold, Secure, Lockdown, Evacuate, and Shelter. Practicing the SRP  helps staff, students and first responders to plan and prepare for both everyday school events and hazards or threats to personal safety. Importantly, the actions help instill confidence and save lives by providing a clear and common language and response plan between students, parents, staff and first responders.

Tens of thousands of schools, agencies and organizations across the US and Canada have used the protocol since we introduced it in 2009. We’ve released a few updates over the years. The latest is SRP 2021 which adds more clarity and guidance so it’s easier and faster to learn.

SRP 2021 Language Modifications: The Details

The biggest change you’ll see in SRP 2021 is the language used to direct students, instructors and staff to get inside and lock the outside doors. We are using the word Secure to initiate that directive. It’s used when a threat or unstable situation is outside the building.

Previously, the directive was Lockout, but there was enough evidence to show that people would get that confused with LockDOWN, and sometimes overreacted to what is a fairly benign action. We also heard from an instructor for people with hearing impairments who said that using Secure will also be easier to perform accurately with American Sign Language.

So, Secure means students, guests, teachers, and administrators are inside the facility with outside doors locked and they continue business as usual.

Expansion of the Standard SRP: Additional Guidance

One of the changes actually started in mid-2019. It brings the “hold” action into the SRP. Before that, it was part of the expanded version. “Hold” directs people to “hold in their area and clear the halls,” but otherwise continue with business as usual.

We’ve also clarified the difference between drills and exercises, and current practices for “no trauma” drills. The primary objective of a drill is for participants to build muscle memory, and practice an action to use in various events or situations. It does not simulate a dangerous event. One important thing is that drills should always be announced. We never want to scare people when nothing is wrong! 

We talk about this in detail—and with a community expert in this area—in this blog post.

And there’s no reason that people need to think something is real to practice effectively. Like the famous musician, Yo-Yo Ma said, “your brain forms the same neural connections and muscle memory whether you are imagining the task or actually doing it.”

Finally, we’ve expanded guidance in the SRP to incorporate helpful community notes, including:

      • Additional instruction in the “lockdown’ action for adults
      • Suggestions for effective communication
      • Language to use with parents

Recap: 2021 Changes to SRP

School and district administrators, emergency managers, law enforcement, and emergency medical services across the country are adopting SRP as a standard. It’s an all-hazards response, designed to bolster existing school safety plans and programs with consistent, clear, shared language and actions for students, staff and first responders.

Based on data and experience, the changes made in SRP 2021 increase clarity and reduce uncertainty in planning and actions. Here’s a snapshot of the two primary changes to rename “lockout” to “secure” and incorporate “hold” into the standard version:

Prior SRP Actions (FROM)2021 SRP 4.0 Actions (TO)Direction

HOLD (in expanded version)
HOLD (in standard version)Hold in your room or area. Clear the halls.
LOCKOUTSECUREGet inside. Lock outside doors.
LOCKDOWNLOCKDOWNLocks, lights, out of sight.
EVACUATEEVACUATEA location may be specified.
SHELTERSHELTERState the hazard and safety strategy

We hope these changes and this protocol continue to help the community restore and protect the joy of youth through positive actions, shared language and clear preparation for any event.


Learn more about The “I Love U Guys” Foundation, and follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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Written by The "I Love U Guys" Foundation


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