Locking down or putting a shelter in place is no easy feat for a large shopping centre but correct training and preparation will make the task a lot easier. The following information is an example how a shopping centre may initiate their shelter in place or lockdown procedures during an emergency. For this case we will assume that the shopping centre has an Emergency Warning and Intercommunication System (EWIS).

Shelter in Place

This option can be imposed upon the building for a number of reasons, normally due to an external situation.  Shelter in Place may require occupants to remain within the building rather than evacuate.  While building occupants will respond to the alarm tones, utilising the PA function will allow the Chief Warden to disseminate information to the entire building or selected Zones.

  • Know what to say before you say it
  • Speak clearly and slowly
  • Repeat key announcements
  • Do not invoke panic

Occupants will detect hesitancy in your voice. Ideally you should disseminate information to the Warden Team first: Ask Wardens to attend the WIP or two way radio, then establish communication with the Zones advising what actions will need to be taken before making a general announcement to all occupants.

Announcement 1:

Your attention please, this is the Chief Warden speaking, can all nominated Wardens please attend your Warden Phone.

I repeat

Can all nominated Wardens please attend your Warden Phone.

Brief the Wardens on the situation and advise them that a general announcement will be made shortly. Ask the Wardens identify occupants that may require assistance to evacuate should the situation escalate and report back to you on numbers.  Use the Zone Manned to indicate the Zones that have responded.

Announcement 2:

Your attention please, this is the Chief Warden speaking, please be advised that the building has been requested to shelter in place.

I repeat

Be advised that the building has been requested to Shelter in Place, all occupants are to remain on your floors until further notice. Any occupant that would require assistance to evacuate is to report to your Warden. Updates on the situation will be made every 15 minutes.

Some situations may take a number of hours to resolve and occupants will be more willing to accept a situation if they are kept informed.  Therefore building announcements need to be ongoing even if there is nothing to report.  There are a number of different variations to Shelter in Place, the emergency situation may require the grounding of all lifts or directing occupants to one side of the building, moving occupants with a disability to a lower level  may also need to be considered based upon the situation.  All occupants should be prepared to evacuate should this be directed by Emergency Services.  The external assembly area may also need to be reassessed and a secondary external assembly area announced.


A threat directly involving the building or within the building may require the facility to be placed into Lockdown. Occupants are to listen to any announcements, and follow directions by the Warden team. Lifts will be locked down under this directive.  There will be no persons admitted into or out of the building and occupants could also be required to take additional shelter within an office, meeting room or tenancy.  Movement must be kept minimal until you are advised that conditions have returned to normal.

In some situations it may be necessary for all tenants to undergo Lockdown. This is a critical reaction requiring all tenants to lock themselves and any customers within their tenancy and await further direction. In order to instigate this directive, Management will utilise the installed PA system and will make continuous lockdown announcements.


  • Listen to all instructions made over the PA (or made by management or emergency services)
  • Immediately lock your tenancy
  • Move staff away from all entry points and towards the rear of the tenancy
  • Switch off lighting
  • Hide in store rooms or behind counters
  • Ask all within your tenancy to switch OFF or silence mobile phones
  • Keep together and minimise all movements and noise
  • Stay hidden and DO NOT be tempted to show yourselves
  • Listen for announcements from Management or Emergency Services
  • Do not call Building Management
  • Do not leave the tenancy or resume normal activities until instructed to do so
  • Leaving your tenancy while Lockdown has been imposed may take people into an extremely dangerous situation
  • Make no attempt to retrieve your vehicle from the car park
  • If you have been able to evacuate report to the police command post


Lock Down, Lock Down, Lock Down,

             All customers find a safe place, All customers Find a safe place.”

Lock Down, Lock Down, Lock Down,

             All customers find a safe place, All customers Find a safe place.”

At Workplace Emergency Management we provide in depth training to all business sizes. We strive to make all businesses a safer location for everyone.

If you would like further information on training your staff feel free to reach out to us to discuss a tailored solution for your business.


Are you ready for peace of mind that your workforce is as safe and prepared as possible?

With a dedicated team of staff ready to help you meet compliance requirements and improve the overall safety of your workplace, all you need to do is get in touch.

Request your free audit today!