Peter_Davey_HSby Peter J. Davey, President, American Window Film, Inc.
Opinions vary on approaches to improving building security. We can debate these opinions relative to the right to bear arms against gun control laws; privacy rights against increased psychiatric support services for at-risk individuals; racial profiling against increased screenings, etc. However, despite differing opinions and approaches, there remains undeniable common ground in a mutual goal to mitigate potential damages, injuries and loss of life due to catastrophic events.
Public and private sector facility security teams have and continue to improve security, albeit vulnerabilities and room for improvement undoubtedly remain. Most of our school and institution administrators have implemented robust Safety and Security Plans. National School Safety and Security Services presents five key strategic areas of importance, including: (1) training school administrators, teachers and support staff on school security and school emergency planning best practices; (2) evaluating and refining school security measures; (3) updating and exercising school emergency preparedness plans; (4) strengthening partnerships with public safety officials; (5) creating enhanced crisis communications plans. (Ken Trump, “Best Practices for School Security and Emergency Preparedness Planning”, National School Safety and Security Services, schoolsecurity.org, n.p., n.d., web, 2/17/16).
I would like to emphasize and expand upon (4) strengthening partnerships with public safety officials. When planning to enhance security systems with products, it is important to consider this a collaborative effort between the school (administrators, staff and students); public and private emergency responders (police and fire departments, private security, etc.); and your security product specialist. Company representatives who sell and install safety and security products should be available to meet with, educate, and collaborate with your local emergency response officials – particularly when product information and placement would facilitate more effective and efficient protection when emergency services are required.
Overall, the window film industry’s outreach efforts to educate primary and secondary school security decision makers as well as city and town police and fire department officials about safety and security window films has been successful. Locally and nationally, there has been an increase in security window film installations particularly in schools and institutions.
With a lengthy background in the window film industry, as well as involvement in emergency preparedness on a local level, I have educated and collaborated with police departments on the features and benefits of safety and security window film both pre- and post-installation. The primary reason for security film installation is to mitigate potential injury, loss of life and damage to property caused by violent attack, severe weather, explosions and other man-made or catastrophic events, as well as theft, vandalism or accidents that could send dangerous glass shards flying and leave property exposed to the elements.
Despite outreach, myths related to window film still circulate. “Bullet-proof” has been associated falsely with security window film. Bullets WILL penetrate both glass and installed security film. Security film holds shattered glass in place. Although a bullet hole remains, a quality security film with a strong adhesive and attachment system is extremely difficult to tear or penetrate. Factors that determine the length of time it takes for an intruder to penetrate glass 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.
Deterring and slowing down forced entry provides precious emergency response time and its importance cannot be overemphasized. Emergency response teams as well as school or facility personnel need to be aware of security window film placement. Just as a strong security window film installation slows down entry of intruders, it can slow down rescue worker entrance and emergency escape. Knowledge and collaboration of all parties are paramount. A well trained, authorized and certified window film dealer will meet with local emergency response departments and school officials to provide essential information about the installed security product, its placement and best practices for quick entry and escape for innocents.
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Peter J. Davey is president of American Window Film, Inc., a 3M™ Authorized and Certified Prestige Window Film Dealer, located in Foxboro and Boston, MA, 800-274-TINT, www.americanwindowfilm.com. Published in the March issue of High Profile Monthly.
American Window Film, Inc. is your 3M Authorized Window Film Dealer serving all of MA, RI and southern NH, including Boston, South Shore, North Shore, Cape Cod & the Islands, Providence, Nashua, Manchester, Worcester, Springfield and surrounding communities.