Facility Engineering Magazine Reprint

Security Products Reprint
August 28, 2023
Public Safety Magazine Reprint
August 28, 2023

Windows and Glass: The Weakest Link in Securing Your Facility!

by Richard Hahn

What do the facility managers at NASDAQ, The Jimmy Carter Presidential Center, Wells Fargo Bank and Omni Hotels have in common?

All are using window protection film to protect their windows against terrorism, burglaries, vandalism and even storms. In addition, many have received professional consultations and assessments on glass and window protection.

The Danger of Unprotected Glass

Every security manager knows that glass is the weakest link in securing a facility. An explosion or violent weather can catapult razor sharp glass up to 150 miles per hour. During the recent World Trade Center terrorist attack, numerous deaths and injuries resulted from the shards of glass, which flew up to 1/2 of a mile away from the collapsed structure. 

In Oklahoma City, more than 50% of the injuries sustained were the result of flying glass from the blast. Property damage to the interior of buildings was also costly, as shattered and fallen glass left dozens of buildings vulnerable to looters and water damage.

There are also safety issues. Because industrial factories, chemical refineries and food processing plants store and transport materials, workers are in danger of flying glass from accidental explosions. 

An ABC news story on the terrorist attack explained that where glass retention film was used at the Pentagon, the glass remained intact. Although almost every piece of glass was broken when the jet hit the building, all of the broken shards were stuck to the film preventing deadly pieces of glass from flying.

Jordan Frankel, vice president of ShatterGARD, an expert on glass fragmentation retention, advises facility managers to safeguard building occupants and the public by protecting the glass windows in addition to their current security measures. 

Without that protection, flying glass can destroy both property and lives. The company’s flagship product, BlastGARD, a polyester glass retention film, minimizes the risk of bodily injury and property damage by holding the dangerous razor sharp shards together within the window frame, preventing the flying glass from becoming deadly weapons. The film is optically clear and distortion free, and filters up to 98% of UV radiation. Frankel said the film is virtually undetectable to the eye.

By changing the thickness of the polyester, the type of adhesive used, and other characteristics, Frankel’s company developed related products for specific industries and new applications.

A member of the International Association for Counter-Terrorism & Security Professionals and The Security Industry Association, Frankel’s company also offers consulting services for facility managers on blast protection preparedness.

“When evaluating the risks, we look at the height of the building, the direction of the glass, the type and age of the window frame, how it is secured to the building,” he said. “Flying glass is a danger not only to internal areas, but also zones such as windows facing a parking lot or a walkway where the public may be at risk.”

The type of glass also dictates what type of protection is needed. Safety glass or ballistic glass are exceptionally high quality and can also be used against acts of terrorism and explosions. A cost comparison is recommended.