The right window film can improve the look of your facility, but more importantly, it can also protect occupants from outsider threats that are especially problematic to schools and retail stores, such as active shooters, civil unrest, and natural disasters, which are becoming more frequent over time.
Jamie Hamilton, Senior Building Security, Energy, and Branding Consultant at NGS, discussed the importance of window film during the March 8 Facilities Management Advisor webinar “How to Improve Building Sustainability, Resilience, and Aesthetics at the Same Time,” sponsored by NGS.
Civil unrest, windstorms, wildfires, bomb blasts, and active shooters are some of the reasons facilities managers should improve their facility’s resiliency. “We’ve worked with, since 2019, 170 school districts across the country and installed security film to buy them time,” Hamilton said, noting that this extra time allows protocols to be activated and gives emergency responders time to arrive.
Facilities managers looking to increase facility security should consider the following solutions:
- Access control—using biometrics and maglocks to control access to properties;
- Technology—the use of video cameras so security can see someone coming or catch a perpetrator after the fact;
- Physical security—hiring private security guards to supplement law enforcement; and
- Glass hardening—slowing down a perpetrator’s ability to gain access to a property.
“Glass is the weakest link. Many buildings haven’t hardened their glass,” Hamilton explained.
According to Hamilton, a 2022 Window Security and Safety Survey study indicated that:
- 71% of respondents don’t believe first responders such as security guards or law enforcement arrive quickly enough to prevent loss.
- 43% said their glass doors and windows are most likely to fail during an intrusion.
- 35% said their glass windows and/or doors are broken at least once a quarter.
“Protection professionals have very little confidence in the ability of their glass doors and windows to protect people inside their buildings from threats such as bomb blasts, gunfire, severe weather, and earthquakes,” Hamilton explained.
Tiered Window Film Approaches
3M security film for active shooter/forced entry protection and bomb blast has different levels of protection, according to Hamilton. Facilities professionals should therefore work with leadership to determine which type of protection would best meet their facility security needs:
- No film—This offers no protection, and it could be fully breached in 20 seconds.
- Tier 1: Entry-level security film—This is effective for bomb blasts, and it falls out in one piece to prevent shards of glass from injuring people across the room. Additionally, it makes access for intruders a little bit harder than no film at all; it could be breached in about 2 minutes based on a demonstration by the Houston Police Department.
- Tier 2: Glazing security system—Although it’s a cost-effective way to secure buildings, it’s not good for national retailers that must replace glass every week. Additionally, it takes about 6 minutes to gain access.
- Tier 3: Access denial—This Riot Glass has been installed on some state capitol buildings and federal courthouses to protect them from civil unrest. It sets up like a storm window over additional glazing, can handle both large and small missile impacts, and can be serviced by most glass companies. Options include level 1 to level 4 ballistic categories. This product has also been used for cellular phone stores and convenience stores across the country where the security film has prevented product loss but the glass is still frequently broken.
- Tier 4: Ballistic glass—Options include level 1 through level 7 ballistic glass. While it has a forced entry rating of 30 minutes, it is the most expensive type of glass.
Sandy Hook Recommendations
Both the Final Report of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, released on March 6, 2015, after the December 14, 2012, tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, that took the lives of 26 students and teachers, and the Final Report of the Federal Commission on School Safety, released on December 18, 2018, advised schools to replace nonreinforced glass windows with:
- Tempered, wire-reinforced, laminated, or bulletproof glass; and
- Blast-resistant safety films.
Other Window Films
Hamilton also focused on interior window film solutions to protect confidential information on television and computer screens that are visible outside a conference room, as well as exterior window film solutions for office complexes.
To learn about those solutions and get more information on facility security film solutions, be sure to watch the entire presentation on demand by clicking here.