Peter Davey, American Window Film, Inc.

Picture this: an equivalent of 500 pounds of TNT is detonated 121 feet from a window of a test structure. The glass shatters sending shards that embed its inside wall. Imagine this: the same blast on the same window type with 3M security film applied. The result: the film completely retains the glass inside the frame. No glass shards land inside the structure. This blast test took place at the Kirtland Airforce Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Per GSA standards, Applied Research Associates, Inc. conducted several tests in response to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and various terrorist attacks on U.S. troops, and to measure the potential hazard mitigation characteristics of 3M window films. The videotape of the blast is impressive. But what is not shown, is disturbing. The reality of a blast is that few glass shards will reach the wall at the far end of any room. People inter­rupt them.
“In this country, we soon enter a season that is rich with symbolic opportunities for the terrorists to try to shake our will. [Tom Ridge, Homeland Security Secretary] These targets of opportunity for the terrorists are oppor­tunities that can’t be missed to tighten our security.” (Yahoo News, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, “Security to Tighten for Elections and Party Conventions”, Los Angeles Times, April 20, 2004.) Boston’s 2004 Democratic National Convention is fast approaching. Federal and state agencies have been working diligently on security plans and the private sector is following suit.
Building owners and facilities man­agers are purchasing security window film for perimeter windows in order to mitigate the destructive effects of explosive blasts, vandalism, and severe weather and their associated impact on business continuity. Compared to the expense of glass replacement, retrofitting with security window film offers an affordable option for improving safety. Efficient and professionally trained installers provide minimum interruption to production activities. The added benefits of reduced heat­ing, cooling and HVAC maintenance expenses provide good reasons for facilities managers to justify their invest­ment on future energy cost savings.
Most of us have experienced the invisible shield of protection that 3M security films provide. Many commer­cial buildings (banks, airports and fed­eral buildings) have security film installed. We rarely hear about its installation since building owners are reluctant to suggest that any of us are vulnerable inside their facility.
3M Company, an ISO9002 certified manufacturer, issued the first patent on window film in 1966. 3M is the only window film manufacturer that pro­duces their own raw materials such as polyesters, adhesives, metals and scratch-resistant coatings. Their films meet ANSI Z97 and CPSC glazing standards, and 3M’s patented multiple micro layer technology, to enhance tensile strength and elongation, has contributed to their longevity in the field. Their construction delivers supe­rior performance over standard poly­ester films in blast and impact mitiga­tion due to its ability to absorb shock. They are a durable, tear-resistant series of polyester films that provide high optical clarity.
Our news is filled with daily reminders of our vulnerability to terror­ist attacks. It simply makes good sense to implement security measures that will help assure business continu­ity in the aftermath of explosive blasts, vandalism or violent weather. Installation of security window film is quick, clean and, not only cost effective, it can pro­vide a return on your investment. A low profile method of glass retention and protection for visitors and occupants of our nation’s commercial buildings, security window film is one method of preparedness that building owners and facilities managers can afford to take.