Window Security Film 101

Often overlooked by campus public safety professionals, window security film can enhance access control to your facility, protect it from severe weather and make your buildings more energy efficient.
Published: April 4, 2014

Schools, university campus police, security personnel, emergency management officials and facility managers have focused their attention on dozens of new security initiatives, from video surveillance to making door security measures more robust. There is one often overlooked measure, however, that’s starting to get more attention. It’s virtually invisible,  is relatively quick and inexpensive to install, and yet works round the clock to improve the security of doors and windows. It is safety and security window films.

Today’s products play an important role in deterring crime. Few security measures can fully stop a determined intruder, but when the correct security window film is selected and properly installed, it can delay a perpetrator long enough to help foil their plans or give those inside precious time to find a way to remain safe.

What Is Window Film?

Window film is a polyester-based product and often involves multiple layers laminated together for strength. It utilizes an aggressive pressure sensitive mounting adhesive. Most films are applied to the interior surface of a glass window in a home, commercial building or car. They have a scratch resistant coating on the outer surface to protect the film.

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There are many types of window films. Some are clear and feature multiple layers of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) to offer protection from shattering glass; others are tinted with metals and dyes to reduce the visible light transmitted through the glass and block heat coming through from the sun.  There are even decorative window films that can replicate the look of frosted glass or etched patterns.
Window film is used in many applications, with increasing popularity in architectural and commercial installations. In addition, window film now plays a role in many safety and security applications. Those include graffiti mitigation,  blast mitigation and even making glass more safe by helping to keep dangerous shards of glass together when impacted by storms or high winds.

Films Can Deter Intruders

Some security window films are designed to prevent a perpetrator from seeing into a school from the outside and potentially doing harm.

In the spring of 2013, the Enterprise Elementary School District in Redding, Calif., was considering security measures to better secure the school during a lockdown event.

When there is imminent danger, lockdown procedures at Enterprise Elementary require that administrative personnel in the school bolt all doors and send a special code to teachers, who then are required to turn off the lights in classrooms and hide the students.

One issue is that as most schools operate during daylight hours, an intruder can still see into classrooms – even if the blinds are drawn in some cases. Another concern the Enterprise School District faced was that in many active shooter incidents, the gunman will first target the campus administrative office before moving on to other targets.

“The first place they (perpetrators) tend to go is the office because they want to stop anyone from dialing 9-1-1,” says Jack Audino, co-owner of Sunblockers Inc., a window films dealer based in Redding, Calif., which worked with Enterprise School District on a window film security solution.

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Strategy & Planning Series