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.

Window security film helped address two major security concerns for the district.

First, the window film installed is designed to allow just 7% of visual light transmission. This means that classroom windows equipped with this type of security film do not allow an intruder to see anything or anyone inside the school when the lights are off.

Second, the window security film is designed to help hold the glass together when impacted by a rock, brick, baseball bat or even rifle or shotgun blast, even if the bullet(s) penetrate the glass and film. (Note: window films are not bullet proof or bullet resistant). This can help delay an intruder, giving school officials more time to react and police to respond.
“They (school districts) are looking for increased response time, and the security window films can help give them that,” Audino says. “Even if it gives them 10 more seconds to respond, that is worth it.”

Windows and doors are the most vulnerable parts of a home, public building or business. They are easy points of entry for people who may mean harm to the occupants. Glass is also an inviting target for vandals intent on mischief or worse. Therefore, safety window films offer a measure of protection from the hazards of flying glass fragments. When ordinary non-tempered glass breaks, it poses considerable danger. With filmed glass, this hazard may be significantly reduced.

As with any safety measure, there are limitations to what the product can do. Today’s safety films are marketed and thoroughly tested for improving glass performance regarding safety glazing, intrusion, extreme weather conditions and blast mitigation. However, although films can reduce glass hazards upon initial impact and slow the intrusion process, with repeated impacts they will eventually allow access, as do many anti-intrusion products.

Evaluating Products? Adopt These 3 Best Practices

Campus officials and facility managers have many considerations when evaluating safety film options. Films applied to glass are tested to the same break-safe standards required of tempered glass, heat-strengthened glass and laminated glass. Window film manufacturers have copies of the actual laboratory test reports validating what their products do to meet specific impact testing standards. Here are some other tips to help evaluate safety film:

  1. Be sure to request and thoroughly examine all test reports and certificates to ensure that you are getting the level of protection your facility requires. It is also important that the product you choose was tested on the same glass type currently in your building.
  2. Note that thicker films and films made from multiple layers (laminated films) generally perform better in situations where there will be repeated impacts to the glass, even after breakage has occurred.  In some instances, it has been determined through testing that a combination of interior and exterior safety film will provide a greater level of deterrent.
  3. Finally, be sure to consult a safety film expert when evaluating solutions for your facility. Proper film selection and installation for blast mitigation requires significant training.

Campus security officials no doubt have a challenging list of considerations to plan for and help deter threats in today’s world. Security window film is another tool that, when integrated with a well-planned system of security measures, can offer your campus community peace of mind.
Being aware of all the advantages and technologies of today’s security window films can help you make an informed choice on what the best security measures will be for your campus.

Jeffrey Plummer is senior vice president of sales and marketing at Madico Window Films, which develops, manufactures, and markets technologically advanced laminates.



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