The Truth About Security Window Films for Schools
Increased awareness of glass vulnerabilities has school resource officers searching for a solution. Security window films have become a popular low-cost, easy to apply product, but do they really work?
In this article I’ll discuss the pros and cons of security window films and their ability to resist forced entry and penetration by bullets.
Window films where invented for solar control in the 1960s and later brought to market in the 1980s as a bomb and petrochemical blast mitigation solution. These thicker blast films have been thoroughly tested and often work very well for capturing fractured glass particles, protecting occupants from flying shards.
Window Film manufacturers began expanding their marketing of security window film to include other benefits such as protection against forced entry, windstorm, earthquake, and accidental human impact. While films can help reduce risk of injuries caused by broken glass, are they capable of preventing and active shooter from entering a building?
Window films can delay a shooter, but only for a few seconds, and the significant weaknesses are important to understand before choosing window film as a solution to protect your campuses.
Security window films are made from layers of polyester mylar laminated together with an added adhesive. They come in various thicknesses, can be installed on the inside surface of the glass, or on both sides for added strength. An edge attachment system is often added to ensure the glass does not separate from the frame. While they do help hold broken glass together in a forced entry attack, they can be punctured easily, allowing an attacker’s hand to pass through a hole in the glass. If an intruder shoots through the glass followed by a determined attack with a heavy object directed at the compromised bullet hole site, the window film can be punctured in a few seconds, not minutes. A hole can be made just large enough for the attacker’s hand to pass through and depress the panic egress bar, opening the door.
Anyone trained in active threat scenarios knows that students and faculty need time, and time buys options. Occupants will need sufficient time to realize a real attack is happening, to run or barricade doors, and call 911. We need to keep an attacker out of the building for several minutes to allow law enforcement to locate and neutralize the threat outside the building.
I have been in the window film industry for 30 plus years, and after searching endlessly for a better solution, to no avail, I decided to invent a stronger, light weight, and affordable solution called Riot Glass®.
Riot Glass® is an unbreakable polymer-based glass that cannot be breached. Even after being riddled with bullets, making a hole to get a hand inside is not possible.
1-minute video demonstration:
Window films and standard laminated glass perform similarly. Watch this video to see how easily films and laminated glass can fail in a real attack – compared to Riot Glass®.
Window films will not stop bullets unless they are applied to very thick glass, which very few buildings have. Removing standard glass, replacing it with thicker glass, and adding very thick window films is not a good solution. The thick films may have a hazy appearance in direct sunlight, even when completely dried. A far easier and more affordable solution is Riot Glass® bullet resistant series. Our patented framing holds various UL 752 ballistic rated Riot Glass® options in place to prevent bullets from passing through as well as stopping an attacker from entering the building.
To learn more, visit our website and click on the products tab to see our various product options. Highly trained security glass professionals are available to assist you every step of the way to achieve your security goals within your allotted budget.
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