by Peter Davey
As someone active in the window film industry in New England since 1975, and as president of American Window Film, Inc., I have witnessed a steady rise in requests for estimates for security film from schools in our region and know that 3M Safety and Security Film has been incorporated into hundreds of schools in the US.
Under tight budgets constraints, school board members have found replacement of windows and entryway doors cost-prohibitive. As a result, retrofitting existing glass with the installation of a robust security window film and Impact Protection Attachment System has proven a reliable and cost-effective option. While this film cannot stop forced entry, it does act as a deterrent by slowing the intruder and providing precious response time.
Buyer beware! “Bullet-proof” has been associated with security window film. Pay no attention. Bullets will penetrate both window glass and installed security film. The film holds shattered glass in place. Although a bullet hole remains, a quality security film with a strong adhesive and attachment system is very difficult to tear. Factors that determine the length of time it takes to penetrate a window with security window film installed include force and type of impact, film strength, type of attachment system, thickness and strength of glass, and size of opening required to enter.
When researching security film, pay close attention to its tear and shatter resistance. Along with the film itself, its attachment system is critical. An Impact Protection Attachment System bonds the filmed window to the frame, offering the highest level of protection. A quality film will conform to ANSI and CPS glazing standards and will have gone through rigorous GSA blast testing or other credible, independent glazing standards and blast testing procedures.
Choose a manufacturer’s authorized dealer. Many film manufacturers will not honor warranties unless an authorized dealer installs their films — a dealer with trained and knowledgeable representatives. Look for a window film manufacturer that has invested in research and development and has a proven track record in the field. You want both a manufacturer and dealer that stand behind their products and can be relied upon for years to come.
Don’t be afraid to publicize your investment in safety and security enhancements. Knowledge is a beautiful thing! It may help those struggling with concerns about their safety and that of others — and it could discourage potential intruders.
Claims in the number of school shootings since Sandy Hook have been questioned periodically. For example, last year, according to FactCheck.org, Everytown for Gun Safety claimed there were 74 school shootings since Sandy Hook. FactCheck.org found the group overstated the number of shootings, but conceded the group was free to use whatever definition of “school shooting” they desired.
FactCheck.org reported 34 school shootings at that time (“Spinning Statistics on School Shootings”; FactCheck.org, Q&A, Alexander Nacht; 6/25/14).
From my perspective, by any definition of school shooting, one is too many. Fact checking is important. However, this debate on definition should not overshadow the point — school shootings and campus security remain a problem. A well-planned approach toward implementing preventive security measures deserves ongoing attention.
Brad Spicer, CEO, SafePlans, LLC, outlines CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) elements to consider when developing a plan for enhancing school security (“11 Components of a Secure School Front Entrance”, campussafetymagazine.com, 10/23/15). Items include effective perimeter fencing, single point of entry, staff monitoring of arrival and dismissal times, visitor management, vestibule double-entry systems, electronic access control, video intercoms, door hardware improvement, office panic buttons, situational awareness education, and glass assessment including installation of security window film for reinforcement.
The collective heart of the Northeast was broken by the Sandy Hook and Boston bombing incidents, and since then, school officials and facilities managers in the region are determined to improve safety and security measures to mitigate loss of life, injuries, and property damage.
Peter J. Davey is president of American Window Film, Inc., a 3M Authorized Prestige Window Film Dealer, located in Foxboro and Boston, Massachusetts.