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Brad Campbell

protecting schools from active shooters

Protecting Schools from Active Shooters

By | Blog

In the first 46 weeks of 2019, there were 45 school shootings at elementary, middle schools, high schools, colleges, and universities. Of those, 32 were at campuses serving Kindergarten through 12th grade, leaving parents, teachers, students, and communities unsure of what steps to take to guarantee the safety and security of students and faculty while attending school. 

As anxiety increases around this sensitive subject, schools are holding active shooter drills, parents are purchasing bulletproof backpacks, and educators are arming themselves. 

But one question remains: How do you keep an active shooter out of your school today? The answer is: hardening your school to keep those meaning to cause harm out. 

 

But what is hardening? 

 

Hardening is a term often used by security professionals, military personnel, and police officers that refers to the process of strengthening a facility’s security to protect occupants in the event of an attack. 

Every building has unprotected entry points that intruders can use to their advantage. The process behind hardening a school is identifying and addressing these physical locations and implementing solutions so that they are not left undefended. 

Two of the most vulnerable points of entry for any building are windows and doors that can be easily broken or kicked in. If these areas contain large amounts of unprotected glass, they are especially at risk.

vulnerable glass is an easy entry point for active shooters

Riot Glass, Your Best Option

 

After years of frustration with the security glass and framing options on the market, the diverse suite of Riot Glass products was born. 

But how is Riot Glass different from tempered or annealed glass? Riot Glass is glass that has been reinforced to provide protection from active-shooters and forced-entry. Once installed, it is nearly indistinguishable from unreinforced glass. 

Riot Glass blocks determined intruders leaving them baffled and unnerved, providing precious time for those inside to react and law enforcement to arrive. The Riot Glass line of highly fortified laminated glass uses a thermoplastic interlayer that is up to 5 times stronger and 100 times stiffer than regular laminated glass. 

While some Riot Glass products are bullet-resistant, other options will not stop live rounds but are intended to maintain their structural integrity, continuing to keep intruders out even when riddled with bullets. 

 

When an Intruder Breaks in

 

When doors and windows are locked, those inside may feel a false sense of security. While installing products such as deadbolts, alarms, and cameras can help, often ignoring windows and glass doors is a fatal flaw in many active shooter protection strategies. 

When we want to enter a building, our brains are programmed to look for a door. The same thinking can be applied to an armed intruder seeking access to a building. If they find the door locked, it usually creates a sense of urgency, causing them to immediately seek the closet point of entry. 

If the door is partly or completely comprised of glass or has a nearby window, it becomes extremely likely the intruder will simply break or shoot the glass to make their way inside of the building instead of searching for an alternate entry point. 

Once inside, it can take a matter of minutes for damage to be done and lives to be lost. Upon the realization that an active shooter has penetrated a school, panic can set in causing symptoms such as shortness of breath, trembling, dizziness, or even an out of body experience. 

ordinary glass offers little protection from active shooters

 

Those panicking may be unsure of what to do to protect themselves and need assistance. Active shooters count on the element of surprise.  As a result, every second matters. Time is needed to focus and plan effective action. Quick decisions must be made to either exit the premises or barricade yourself in a room. 

What studies have learned is that deterring or slowing an intruder is the key to increasing the chance of survival. 

 

Conclusion

 

Keeping an active shooter out of your school is directly related to saving lives. An FBI study between 2000 and 2013 determined 64% of active shooter events are over within 5 minutes. 

Typical police response times for an active shooter situation is 6 -10 minutes, which is not an effective option when lives are at stake. What we have learned from the events of the past is that time is of the essence. 

We must empower our staff and students by giving them the tools to protect themselves. 

Riot Glass has created viable solutions for anti-intrusion and ballistic resistance that won’t break your budget. A recent independent laboratory test of our ArmorPlast 25, which is the thinnest and most affordable of its product line, ended after 8 minutes of the lab tech using everything from a sledgehammer to bullets without gaining entry. 

Our products work when it matters most, creating a physical barrier between those that mean to cause harm and those that need protection.