Why You Should Never Lock Doors When Evacuating A Building

Why you should never lock doors when evacuating a building

Why You Should Never Lock Doors When Evacuating A Building

Evacuating a building is usually a stressful experience. People are often in a hurry to get out, and they may not be thinking clearly. Amid all this confusion, one thing that people usually do without thinking is lock the doors behind them.

Locking a door behind you is an automatic reaction for many people. After all, you don’t want anyone coming in while you’re gone. But in the case of an evacuation, locking doors can actually be dangerous. In this article, we’ll discuss why.

7 reasons why you shouldn’t lock doors when evacuating a building

1. It slows down the evacuation process

Locking doors takes time. And in an emergency, every second counts. If there’s a fire or another emergency, you don’t want to waste time fumbling with keys when you should be fleeing. Chances are, you’ll be so disoriented that you’ll take even longer than usual to lock up.

2. You might trap someone inside

In a building evacuation, everyone should be able to get out safely. But if you lock the doors, you might inadvertently trap someone inside.

You can’t always be sure where everyone is at any given time, and someone might be on the other side of a locked door when the evacuation starts. If you lock the door and the building is on fire, that could end up costing someone their life.

3. Emergency services might need to get in

If there is an emergency, the first responders will need to get into the building as quickly as possible. But if the doors are locked, that will delay them.

In a fire, for example, every minute counts. The faster the emergency services can get in, the better. So don’t lock the doors and hamper their efforts.

4. You might need to get back inside

There are always going to be cases where people need to go back into the building. Maybe you left something important behind, or maybe there’s a child who got separated from the group.

If the doors are locked, it will be much harder to get back in. In some cases, it might even be impossible.

5. It could cause panic

In a building evacuation, people are usually already feeling panicked. If they see doors being locked, it might cause them to panic even more.

And in a situation where everyone is panicking, it’s much harder to stay calm and think clearly. So don’t add to the panic by locking doors.

6. It could be against the law

Some doors, particularly fire exits, are required by law to be unlocked both during an evacuation and while the building is in use.

So, if you lock fire doors during an evacuation, you could be breaking the law.

7. It’s usually not necessary

In most cases, locking doors during an evacuation is simply not necessary. If you’re evacuating due to a genuine emergency, there’s really no need to lock the doors. Are you afraid that someone is going to come in and steal your things?

In the grand scheme of things, that’s not a concern. And even if it was, most people would be more interested in getting out alive than in taking your stuff.


You’re going against your instincts when you don’t lock the doors during an evacuation. We get it. But it’s important to remember that in an emergency, this should be the last thing on your mind.

With the risks being so high, it’s simply not worth it to lock doors. You need to focus on getting yourself and others to safety, and leave the doors unlocked so that everyone can get out or in quickly and easily.