Legislation Approves Use of Lockdown Devices

Governor Whitmer signed into law Public Act 45 of 2020, effective June 1, 2020, which amends the Con­struction of School Buildings Act to permit a temporary door locking device or system to be installed in school buildings. The Act clarifies that this installation does not violate the Fire Code.

A “temporary door locking device or system” (lockdown device) is an “anchoring mechanism or sys­tem installed on the interior side of a door that, when engaged, secures the door against forced entry.” Before installing a lockdown device, school officials must re­ceive approval from the local building code enforcing agency that the lockdown device:

  • May be locked without opening the door;
  • May be disengaged from the door’s interior side without a tool or key;
  • May be unlocked and opened from the door’s exterior with a tool or key;
  • May be released from the door’s exterior by a properly trained firefighter, law enforcement officer, or school official;
  • Is portable and not permanently affixed to the door;
  • Does not modify the door closure, panic hardware, or fire exit hardware; and
  • Complies with statutory requirements for those with physical impairments.

School officials must notify local law enforcement and the fire department before installing a lockdown device. Additionally, a school must provide training about the lockdown device to school staff working in a building with such a device.

If your school already has a lockdown device installed, the local building code enforcing agency must approve the device if:

  • Within 90 days after June 1, 2020, school building administrators submit to the local building code enforcing agency drawings, dia­grams, and installation instructions that demonstrate how the lockdown device meets the above-listed requirements;
  • School building administrators apply for and obtain necessary permits outlined in PA 45; and
  • The local building code enforcing agency inspects the device and determines it meets PA 45’s requirements.

If your school is considering purchasing a lockdown device or if a lockdown device is already in­stalled, contact your Thrun Law Firm attorney to discuss the intricacies of the amended statute and how they may affect your school.