Skip to Top NavigationSkip to ContentSkip to Footer
Ferris State University BulldogFerris State University Logo

Lockdown vs. Shelter-in-Place


A term that describes a condition where a particular human threat exists, and a building or buildings needs to have exterior doors/entrances locked, to prevent an un-authorized person or persons from entering the building.

It is important to understand if a building is placed on lockdown, building or University staff should discourage, but not physically prevent any person from exiting the building. The building should remain on lockdown until the appropriate authorities have communicated the threat no longer exists.

Building coordinators/supervisors reserve the right to lockdown a building before a lockdown is issued by DPS. In the event of an emergency, DPS will communicate to the university community that a lockdown may be in effect for one or more buildings, as specified and needed.


Describes a condition where the recommended action is for all people in a building to stay in or seek a room/area that can be locked or secured. If a threat is from a person or persons during the shelter in place recommendation, the most secure room or area should be used. If the threat is from a weather condition, interior rooms or spaces are recommended, avoiding exterior windows or glass walls, if possible. If a room or space is chosen during a shelter in place, and the room cannot be locked, consider furniture or other items that can be used to discourage or prevent access to the room.

Obviously, rooms with a door that swings out will be harder to secure, unless an interior door lock is in place. Also, when considering what rooms or spaces in a building could be used for a shelter in place, think about potential restroom needs, water access, etc. The shelter in place order should remain in effect until the appropriate authorities have cancelled the order.

Building coordinators/supervisors reserve the right to issue a shelter-in-place order. Unless the condition elevates to a university emergency or critical incident, DPS will defer the shelter-in-place to the building coordinator.