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Storm Protection

Preparing for Riots and Looting: Essential Tips for Business Owners

By | Blog, Storm Protection

How Can Business Owners Prepare for Riots and Looting?

During times of political or civil unrest, peaceful protests have the potential to turn into violent riots and looting. 

Unfortunately, the people who usually suffer the most because of such events are business owners. So, what can you do to protect your property and prevent devastating financial loss in the event of a riot? 

Keep reading to learn some effective strategies for staying safe during riots and protecting your business from looting.

5 Tips for Staying Safe During Riots

  1. Have An Emergency Kit Ready
  2. Make An Evacuation Plan
  3. Follow Police Updates
  4. Keep Your Vehicle’s Gas Tank Full
  5. Close Your Business and Remove Employees

Have An Emergency Kit Ready

Keep emergency supplies such as some food and water, a first aid kit, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, and other essentials at your business. That way, if you get stuck there during a riot, you can stay there safely until the riot passes.

Make An Evacuation Plan

Develop a plan for how you and all your employees will leave the building and get home safely if a riot starts. Make several plans with alternate routes, in case your first and second choices are blocked by crowds or police.

Follow Police Updates

Download a police scanner app or follow social media for local authorities and news sites to receive the latest information about civil unrest. Pay attention to developments, so you know when your business might be in the path of an angry mob.

Keep Your Vehicle’s Gas Tank Full

If you evacuate your business by vehicle during a riot, you never know how long you could potentially be stuck in traffic. Roads can be closed or blocked and traffic congestion can increase, so make sure your vehicle always has plenty of gas to get you home safely.

 

Close Your Business and Remove Employees

As soon as you feel your business may be put at risk because of a riot, shut down operations and remove employees from dangerous areas. Make sure to openly communicate with employees about the situation and ask if anyone requires assistance to get home safely.

5 Tips for Protecting Property During Riots

  1. Make Sure Your Insurance Covers Riots
  2. Install Monitored Surveillance Cameras
  3. Hire Security Guards
  4. Remove Critical Equipment and Disconnect Critical Infrastructure
  5. Reinforce Your Building’s Windows

 

Make Sure Your Insurance Covers Riots

Review your business insurance plan to make sure it covers damages and losses incurred from riots and looting. Keep receipts for business purchases, so you have a way to prove what items you owned in the unfortunate event that anything gets stolen or destroyed.

 

Install Monitored Surveillance Cameras

Put up monitored surveillance cameras at key points around your building where they are highly visible to would-be intruders. This helps deter rioters and looters from targeting your property by increasing their chances of being caught and prosecuted.

Hire Security Guards

Place security guards at critical points, such as entrances, or have them patrol the perimeter of your property. Make sure the guards themselves are secure and protected and have means for open communication.

 

Remove Critical Equipment and Disconnect Critical Infrastructure

Take any essential equipment that your business can’t operate without off the premises or move it to a more secure location inside your business. Disconnect critical infrastructure like electrical systems and gas lines to prevent damage to them.

 

Reinforce Your Building’s Windows

Create some kind of physical barrier over your building’s vulnerable window glass to prevent forced entry. 

You can board up your business or install roll-down shutters, but these aren’t always practical options, especially because riots often flare up before you have time to fully secure your property.

A better alternative we suggest, especially for businesses with large glass storefronts, is to overglaze your windows with glass-like polycarbonate glazing shields, such as ArmorPlast™ AP25

These glazing shields are virtually unbreakable and protect your existing glass 24/7, without altering the appearance of your property or detracting from its curb appeal.

This means that even if a riot occurs with little or no warning, your business remains protected from vandalism, forced entry, and looting, so you can focus on keeping yourself and your employees safe and rest easy knowing that your property is secure.

ArmorPlast™ AP25 Quick Facts:

  • 1/4-inch AR-2 polycarbonate sheet
  • Non-ballistic, containment-grade shield
  • Glass-like surface hardness and appearance
  • Abrasion and UV resistant coating
  • Resists impacts from bricks, bats, and other weapons
  • Can be riddled with bullets and still retain its strength
  • Keeps would-be intruders out, period.
  • Ideal for retail store glazing and other commercial applications

 

What To Do After Civil Unrest

When it’s safe to go back to your place of business, do so and take note of any property damage that needs to be repaired or any cleanup that needs to be done around the premises. 

Hopefully, if you properly prepared your facility, damage will be minimal or non-existent.

Report any damages to your insurance company and report any crimes that have occurred to the police. Provide any footage of criminal acts from your surveillance systems to the authorities to aid in capture and prosecution.

Steps to get back to work:

  • Contract construction and restoration teams to repair your facility if needed
  • Ask employees if they need anything to resume work
  • Relocate critical equipment and reconnect critical infrastructure
  • Inspect your facilities to make sure they are operational
  • Hold a debriefing with management to evaluate your responses and draw lessons

 

Final Thoughts on Staying Safe During Riots and Looting

It’s important to remember that not all incidences of civil unrest and non-violent protest result in riots and looting. However, in matters of personal safety and business security, it’s always best to be prepared for the worst.

If you follow the tips listed in this article, you’ll be well on your way to staying safe during riots and preventing financial loss due to rioting and looting.

Contact us today for more information about how we can help make your business more secure with our security glazing products.

All You Need to Know About Hurricane Categories Damage Potential

By | Blog, Storm Protection

If you live in a hurricane-prone zone, you probably know that hurricanes are categorized (given a rating from 1-5) based on their severity. But…do you know what each category really means?

Understanding the different ratings can give you a better idea of the way different hurricane categories damage property and help you prepare better, especially when it comes to securing your windows and doors before an approaching storm.

 

What Exactly Are Hurricane Categories?

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale Explained

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is the official name of the scale that assigns hurricanes a rating of 1-5 to categorize them by severity. Each hurricane is rated based on its maximum sustained wind speed, with level 1 being the lowest speed and level 5 being the highest.

One of the main purposes this scale serves is to help estimate potential property damage. However, it’s important to note that this hurricane categories damage scale does not take into account other potentially damaging factories like rainfall flooding, storm surge, and tornadoes.


Any hurricane categorized as a 3 or above on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is considered a major hurricane, meaning that they have the potential to cause devastating or catastrophic wind damage and major loss of life.

That being said, hurricanes of all levels can cause serious property damage, especially if accompanied by storm surge and flooding. That’s why it’s of the utmost importance to take appropriate measures to fortify your property against hurricanes.

 

Saffir-Simpson Winds Scale Ratings:

  1. Category 1 hurricane = sustained winds of 74-95 mph
  2. Category 2 hurricane = sustained winds of 96-110 mph
  3. Category 3 hurricane = sustained winds of 111-129 mph
  4. Category 4 hurricane = sustained winds of 130-156 mph
  5. Category 5 hurricane = sustained winds of 157+ mph

What Types of Damage Hurricane Categories Can Potentially Cause

Category 1 hurricane: very dangerous winds will produce some damage

These winds can cause some damage to buildings, including tearing off roof shingles, siding, and gutters. Additionally, tree branches can break off of trees. Falling branches and other storm debris can further damage properties or cause injury to people.

Category 1 hurricanes also have the potential to snap or otherwise damage power lines, leading to short-term power outages. 

 

Category 2 hurricane: extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage

During a category 2 hurricane, buildings are likely to sustain major roof and siding damage. There is also a bigger risk of additional damage and injury caused by flying storm debris.

Shallow-rooted trees can be uprooted, blocking roads and taking down power lines. There is a big risk of total power loss that can last for days in hard-hit areas.

 

Category 3 hurricane: devastating damage will occur

A category 3 hurricane is a major hurricane that will cause major damage to residential and commercial buildings. The strong winds can potentially tear roof decking and gable ends off well-built homes, for example.

Many trees will be uprooted and electricity and water will be unavailable for days or even weeks after the storm (for reference, Hurricane Katrina was a category 3 hurricane when it made landfall in Louisiana in 2003).

Category 4 Hurricane: catastrophic damage will occur

Catastrophic damage from a category 4 hurricane means that buildings will sustain extreme structural damage, potentially losing most of the roof structure and parts of exterior walls. 

There is a very high risk of injury and further storm damage due to falling and flying storm debris and most trees and power poles will be downed. Power outages and water shortages can make areas uninhabitable for weeks or months.

 

Category 5 Hurricane: catastrophic damage will occur

Hurricanes in the highest hurricane category cause near total destruction. A large number of homes and buildings will be completely destroyed. Areas hit by this level of hurricane will lack power and water and be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Only three category 5 hurricanes have made landfall in the U.S. since 1924, the most recent being Hurricane Andrew, which devastated South Florida in 1992.

How Can You Mitigate Different Hurricane Categories Damage?

Most hurricanes that hit the continental U.S. are categories 1 or 2 by the time they make landfall, and are often classified as tropical storms rather than major hurricanes. 

However, you can see from the hurricane categories damage scale above that there is still potential for devastating property damage. The risk increases if a storm is accompanied by high levels of storm surge and rainwater flooding.


So, if you live in an at-risk area for hurricanes and tropical storms, such as Miami-Dade county or any coastal region of the southeastern United States, what can you do to mitigate the risk of storm damage to your property?

No matter what type of building you have, its most vulnerable points are its windows (or glass doors). 

A flying tree branch or another piece of storm debris hurled by hurricane-force winds can smash through a pane of standard window glass incredibly easily. 

Not only does this mean you have to replace a broken window, but it leaves your property open to rain and wind, which can cause much more internal damage. Besides that, the shards of broken glass can fly dangerously inwards, potentially injuring anyone inside.

In order to mitigate these risks, you must secure your windows and doors with some type of physical barrier.

Storm Damage Mitigation Barrier Options:

  • Plywood boards
  • Storm panels
  • Hurricane shutters
  • Hurricane fabric
  • Polycarbonate glazing shields

We’ve already discussed the advantages and disadvantages of different storm damage barriers in other posts. 

So, we’ll just reiterate that, from our experience as glass security experts, the highest level of protection you can provide your windows and doors are polycarbonate glazing shields.

These glass-like panels are stronger and lighter than any type of security glass and are virtually unbreakable, so you don’t have to worry about storm debris smashing through your windows and leaving your property exposed.

 

Our suggested glazing shield for you: ArmorPlast™ AP25 

Contact us today for more information about our security glazing products and storm damage mitigation solutions.

What Storefront Security Options Do You Really Have?

By | Blog, Storm Protection

From 24-hour convenience stores to luxury fashion retailers, all types of retail stores deal with similar storefront security issues. But, with so many different commercial security products on the market, it can be hard to know what the best solution for your business is.

Keep reading to find out what options you really have for securing a storefront against forced entry, smash-and-grab theft, storm damage, vandalism, rioting, looting, and more.

 

What’s the Best Storefront Security Upgrade for Your Business?

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Common Storefront Security Products

When we talk about securing storefronts, what we mean is creating some sort of physical barrier to strengthen and protect the glass. Whether your business has just a few windows or a huge glass storefront, these are always your property’s most vulnerable points.

Of course, any comprehensive commercial security system should include things like alarms, monitored surveillance, and guard patrols, but these aren’t physical barriers that actually protect your glass.

 

Five common commercial glass security solutions:

  1. Bars and gates
  2. Roll-down shutters
  3. Security window film
  4. Laminated security glass
  5. Polycarbonate glazing shields

 

Bars and Gates

Installing permanently-mounted bars or roll-out gates is a traditional method of securing storefronts to prevent break-ins. 

While they may work fine for things like liquor stores and convenience stores, they’re not a great option for luxury retailers because they detract from the curb appeal of storefronts and reduce the ability for window shopping.

Bars and gates also have spaces where the glass is exposed, so even though they block entry, they don’t always prevent glass from getting broken due to vandalism or flying storm debris.

Advantages:

  • Create barrier to forced entry
  • Available in different styles
  • Can be permanently mounted or rolled out

Disadvantages:

  • Don’t completely protect glass
  • Unnattractive
  • Reduce visibility
  • Don’t protect against storm damage

 

Roll-Down Shutters

Roll-down shutters, such as hurricane shutters, are a great option for protecting storefront glass during a storm, as they do completely cover the glass. 

Shutters also provide some level of protection against forced entry, but they can be tampered with and pried up or broken through by determined would-be intruders. They also only work when you roll them down and lock them into place, so there’s plenty of room for human error.

Advantages:

  • Fully cover glass
  • Protect glass during storms
  • Provide barrier against forced entry

Disadvantages:

  • Have to be put into place
  • Can be tampered with
  • Completely block visibility and light
  • Unnattractive

 

Security Window Film

Security window film is a great budget-friendly way to reinforce storefront glass without installing unsightly bars or shutters. However, it’s important to note that it does not prevent glass from being broken. 

What this type of window film does do is hold broken shards of glass in place, rather than letting them immediately shatter inwards. This can delay forced entry enough to make a would-be intruder move on or give the authorities time to arrive and catch them in the act.

Advantages:

  • Easy to install
  • Doesn’t limit visibility or block light
  • Delays forced entry
  • Keeps broken shards of glass in place
  • Can provide many other benefits
  • Offers UV protection

Disadvantages:

  • Doesn’t prevent glass from breaking
  • Won’t stop determined intruders
  • Can be penetrated by storm debris

Laminated Security Glass

Laminated security glass, not to be confused with tempered safety glass, is a type of strengthened glass that can be built to resist everything from forced entry attempts to ballistic attacks. 

In many cases security glass, such as Riot Glass™, can be retrofitted over a storefront’s existing glass to create a very formidable barrier.

However, sometimes the thickness and weight of security glass means that it won’t work in certain existing framing systems.

Advantages:

  • Available in many thicknesses and strengths
  • Can be retrofitted over existing glass
  • Protects against forced entry, storm damage, and more
  • Doesn’t change the appearance of glass
  • Maintains visibility

Disadvantages:

  • Sometimes too heavy for existing frames
  • Can be broken with enough force

Polycarbonate Glazing Shields

Polycarbonate sheets are another type of storefront security glass product that aren’t actually glass at all — and that’s what makes them so great. These panels look and feel very much like glass, but they have the highly impact-resistant strength of polycarbonate.

Since polycarbonate is so much lighter and stronger than glass, you may be able to retrofit these glazing shields onto storefronts where other types of security glass are not an option. 

Polycarbonate sheets are also available in non-ballistic and ballistic-grade varieties. For most storefronts, a containment-grade (non-ballistic) glazing shield provides all the protection you need against forced entry, storm damage, rioting, and more.

Advantages:

  • Glass-like surface hardness and appearance
  • Can be retrofitted over existing glass
  • Impact resistance of polycarbonate
  • Doesn’t alter the appearance storefronts
  • Virtually unbreakable and impassable
  • Lighter and stronger than glass
  • UV resistant

Disadvantages:

  • Can be scratched if not coated with a scratch-resistant layer

 

What’s Our Top Overall Pick for Boosting Storefront Security?

Spoiler: It Looks Like Glass, But Offers Unbreakable Storefront Security!

Out of all the commercial glass security options we discussed in this article, there’s one that stands out as a clear winner above the rest: polycarbonate glazing shields.

For the best storefront glass protection on the market, we highly recommend choosing ArmorPlast™ AP25

These containment-grade polycarbonate glazing shields provide the highest level of non-ballistic protection available on the market.

The impact resistance of polycarbonate means that AP25 will be an impassable barrier protecting your business from flying storm debris, mobs of rioters, burglars, and more. 

AP25 also comes with a UV- and abrasion-resistant coating for a longer service life in high-profile applications.

Our Final Words

Every retail store’s specific security needs and budget are different, but all face similar day-to-day threats. We hope this article has given you a better idea of what options are available to protect your storefront and helps you choose the right one.

Contact us today for more information about ArmorPlast™ AP25 or the other security glass products we offer. Our team of professionals is always happy to discuss your needs and help you come up with the best solution.

How Businesses Can Prevent Hurricane Looting

By | Blog, Storm Protection

When it comes to losses incurred by hurricanes, storm damage is often just the beginning. Unfortunately, there are people out there who take advantage of the destruction to loot. It’s important for business owners to be aware of this and take steps to prevent hurricane looting.

 

What Is Hurricane Looting?

And How You Can Avoid Becoming a Victim of Hurricane Looting

Hurricane looting refers to the theft of property after a hurricane passes. This occurs because hurricanes often create prime conditions for criminals to steal.

What hurricanes leave behind:

  • Storm damaged buildings
  • Power outages
  • Flooding
  • General disorder

The first reason criminals love to take advantage of hurricanes and other storms is the storm damage they cause. 

If a business lacks the proper protection, the strong winds and storm debris carried by them can smash through storefronts, leaving them totally exposed.

Essentially, the storm has already done half a criminal’s job for them — they can just walk in through a broken window and grab what they want.

Another reason looters take advantage of the aftermath of hurricanes is that there are often power outages. This means that street lights are out and many security systems aren’t working, so it’s less likely for criminals to be seen or caught on camera.

Finally, there is usually flooding and general disorder after a hurricane, which means that mobility is limited, emergency services are overloaded with calls, and business owners are often stranded at home.

This chaos creates a window of opportunity in which looters can prowl around, snatching what they like and feeling relatively confident that they’ll get away with it.

Though it’s important to note that reports of looting are often exaggerated by the media after natural disasters, it is a very real issue, and it’s important for businesses to take precautions to avoid financial losses due to crime.

So, what can you do to protect your business or commercial facility from hurricane looting?

Ways to secure your property against hurricane looting:

  • Reinforce your windows
  • Secure the most valuable items
  • Power security systems with a generator
  • Hang warning signs
  • Put up other physical barriers

In the next section we’ll take a closer look at these strategies for preventing looting after a storm.

 

5 Ways to Protect Your Property from Hurricane Looters

Prevent Hurricane Looting Before the Storm Even Hits

 

1. Reinforce Windows

Any building’s windows are its most vulnerable potential entry points. Standard window glass can be easily smashed out by a flying piece of storm debris or by a would-be intruder wielding a crowbar or any other heavy object.

If you want to prevent looting, you absolutely must not overlook the strength of your windows. Luckily, many of the same methods of protecting windows against storm damage also protect them against forced entry.

For a budget-friendly (albeit labor intensive) option you can board up your windows and doors with plywood sheets before a storm. Or, for a more convenient, secure option, cover your windows with storm panels or hurricane shutters. 

Both of the above options work just fine to protect your windows, but if you want the highest level of round-the-clock protection against storm damage, forced entry, and other threats, we recommend overglazing your glass with polycarbonate panels.

For example, a containment-grade polycarbonate panel like ArmorPlast™ AP25 is ideal for stopping looters dead in their tracks. These glazing shields have a glass-like appearance and surface feel, but are virtually unbreakable. 

This means you don’t have to alter the appearance of your business by boarding or shuttering it up before a storm, but your windows are protected even more than they would be by either plywood or hurricane shutters.

 

2. Secure Valuable Items

Everything inside your business probably has some value, but take a look around at what looters would be most interested in and take steps to secure those items even further. 

If you have a safe or a more secure backroom inside your property, lock the most valuable items in there. Or, you can take the most valuable equipment and merchandise with you to wherever you’re going to be sheltering during the storm, if possible.

3. Use a Generator for Security Systems

Install an emergency generator in your business and hook up things like surveillance cameras and alarm systems to the generator. That way, if the power goes out because of the storm, your security system will still be up and running.

Make sure that your surveillance cameras are visible and have something like a blinking light, too, so would-be looters know they’re working. Motion-sensing lights hooked up to the generator are another good deterrent.

 

4. Post Warnings

Simple signage can make looters think twice about targeting your business. For example, put up signs advertising that the property is being monitored or that there is someone armed inside. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not — criminals don’t like to take unnecessary risks.

 

5. Install Physical Barriers

Besides securing your glass against storm damage and forced entry, there are other types of physical barriers you can install on your property to keep looters out of your business. 

For example, you could secure a warehouse by putting up a barbed wire fence around the perimeter. Or, you can plant thorny bushes below a store’s windows to make them harder (and more painful) to access.

Naturally, not all types of physical barriers make sense for all types of businesses, which is why glass reinforcement is so important. 

 

Conclusion

The last thing you want after a hurricane is to show up at your business and discover that not only was your property damaged by the storm, but you’ve lost valuable merchandise or equipment to hurricane looters.

Fortunately, there are a variety of security measures you can implement to decrease the likelihood of your business becoming a target for looting.

Contact our security experts today or have your local glass contractor give us a call to learn more about how we can help you reinforce your windows to prevent storm damage and looting.

How to Improve Federal Building Security with ArmorPlast™

By | Blog, Storm Protection

Throughout the years, there have been several major events that have caused federal facilities to reassess their security. The January 6, 2021 Capitol Riot is just the latest, causing renewed interest in federal building security.

Even with many security upgrades made to federal buildings over the past 25 years or so, the riot at the Capitol Building made it clear that there is still much room for improvement. 

In this article, we’ll take a brief look at why and how federal facilities have worked to increase security over the years. We’ll then go into some more detail on how federal buildings could improve their glass security, specifically using ArmorPlast™.

 

A Brief Background of Federal Building Security Upgrades

How Federal Building Security Has Changed Over Time

There are thousands of government-owned buildings and spaces leased by the federal government spread throughout the 50 states, as well as in U.S. overseas territories. 

These buildings house over two million federal employees and host millions of visitors each year. The security of federal buildings is of the utmost importance to keep these workers and guests safe and ensure that the U.S. government is able to operate peacefully.

As with all types of commercial facilities, government buildings face a variety of external threats.

Potential threats to government building security:

  • Assault
  • Active shooter scenarios
  • Bomb blasts
  • Robbery
  • Civil unrest
  • Riots
  • Arson
  • Terrorist attacks

Many of the security upgrades made to federal buildings over the years have been a result of unfortunate violent incidents that have targeted government facilities. 

For example, after the Oklahoma City bomb attack that destroyed the Murrah Federal Building and killed 168 individuals, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) set out to greatly increase the security of all facilities under its control.

Examples of security upgrades implemented since 1995:

  • Added more uniformed Federal Protective Service Officers
  • Increased the number of contracted guards in federal buildings
  • Expanded intelligence sharing between federal agencies
  • Added more monitored surveillance systems
  • Installed x-ray machines and magnetometers
  • Restricted access to entry points and parking lots

Today, government facilities controlled by the GSA are rated from Level 1 to Level 4 in terms of security requirements, with Level 4 buildings needing the most security measures and Level 1 buildings needing the fewest.


The numbers do show that criminal activity has decreased on federal properties since 1995, but there are still many inconsistencies in security and room for improvements to be made. 

The Capitol Building riot is a prime example of this. Despite all the security measures in the Capitol, such as uniformed police, security guards, surveillance cameras, and controlled-access entry points, an angry mob of rioters was still able to enter the building.

There are naturally many reasons why this was allowed to happen, but one of the big ones is that the Capitol Building does not have a high level of physical security, especially when it comes to the building’s glass.

In any type of facility, the building’s glass doors and windows are its most vulnerable potential entry points. So, in order to keep rioters and other criminals out of a building, you have to reinforce the glass with something that makes an actual physical barrier to forced entry.

Let’s take a look at one such way to do so: ArmorPlast™ polycarbonate glazing shields.

 

How Can ArmorPlast™ Improve Federal Building Security?

Using AP25 and Other Glazing Shields for Better Federal Building Security

So, what exactly is ArmorPlast™? 

ArmorPlast™ is an abrasion- and UV-resistant polycarbonate sheeting, designed to fit into or onto existing glass door and window openings to protect against forced entry, rioting, active shooters, and more.

These sheets have a glass-like surface hardness and appearance, combined with the virtually unbreakable strength of polycarbonate. ArmorPlast™ is available in different thicknesses and strengths, from containment-grade (non-ballistic) to ballistic-grade glazing shields.

For many security applications where bullet resistance is not required, we recommend ArmorPlast™ AP25. This is an entry-level containment-grade glazing shield, meaning that bullets can pass through it, but it won’t appreciably diminish in strength or break apart.


AP25 could be an ideal solution for protecting government buildings during riots because it cannot be smashed through to gain access to areas it protects. 

Even if rioters are armed with guns, as we saw some were during the Capitol riot, they won’t be able to shoot their way through the panels. AP25 can be riddled with bullets and still remain a barrier to entry.

AP25 Characteristics:

  • 1/4-inch AR-2 polycarbonate sheet
  • Abrasion and UV resistant coating
  • Highly impact resistant (resists cracking and shattering)
  • Prevents would-be intruders from gaining entry
  • Looks and feels very much like glass

On the other hand, for government facilities where bullet-resistant windows and doors are required, there are various levels of ballistic-grade ArmorPlast™ glazing shields available.

Choosing ArmorPlast™ over other types of safety and security glass products offers a huge advantage in that polycarbonate is much stronger and lighter than glass, so you may be able to use it for applications where thick, heavy security glass is not an option.

For example, many older buildings, such as the Capitol, do not have strong enough framing systems to support huge glass panels. However, something like AP25 may be an option because it is more lightweight and can be retrofitted onto a wide variety of existing frame types.

ArmorPlast™ is ideal for:

  • Government buildings
  • Schools
  • Religious buildings
  • Retail stores
  • Detention centers
  • Hospitals
  • Corporate offices
  • Any other high-security facilities

 

Our Final Thoughts

Government buildings and other high-security facilities face a wide variety of criminal threats. Whether it’s a riot or an active shooter, these scenarios can unfold when least expected. 

That’s why it’s so important for these types of facilities to have a comprehensive system of security measures in place. 

Security guards, controlled entry points, and monitored surveillance are all great deterrents, but they don’t create a physical barrier to entry over vulnerable doors and windows.

Contact us today for more information about using ArmorPlast™ to fortify the glass on your government building or other commercial facility.

How Were the Capitol Windows Breached? A Security Glass Expert’s View

By | Blog, Storm Protection

Anyone who witnessed the mayhem that unfolded in the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 might wonder why it was so easy for an angry mob of rioters to storm the building. More specifically, you might ask how were the Capitol windows breached?

The U.S. Capitol’s windows were breached because of one simple fact: the Capitol wasn’t designed to keep people out.

In fact, as is the tradition with many federal government buildings, parts of the Capitol are open to the public. Entrances and the surrounding property are guarded and patrolled by police, but the building itself is not physically secured to a high degree.

Let’s take a closer look at why that is.

 

How Were the Capitol Windows Breached?

Why Rioters Were Able to Break the Capitol’s Windows So Easily

When the dust settled after the Capitol riot, a large part of the damage done was to the building’s windows and doors. The media was full of images of rioters smashing windows while members of congress and building staff barricaded themselves in on the other side.

You might think that because it’s a government building the Capitol would have bulletproof windows and doors, but that’s not the case. The main reasons for this are the building’s age and historic architecture.

The original Capitol Building was built at the end of the 18th century and it is designated as a historic landmark building.

Of course, over the last two centuries the building has been burned down, rebuilt, renovated, restored, and modernized, but at its heart it is still an old building with old architecture.

 

The U.S. Capitol Building’s History:

  • Construction began on the building in 1793
  • The first section was completed in 1800
  • British troops set it on fire in 1814
  • Repairs began in 1815
  • Construction and renovations continued until the end of the 19th century
  • Modern additions were made in the 1970s
  • The visitor center was added in 2008

So, what do the building’s age and architecture have to do with how the Capitol’s windows were broken? Well, any type of bullet-resistant glass is much thicker and heavier than standard window glass, meaning that it requires a more heavy-duty framing system.

Because of the Capitol Building’s historic architecture, installing such heavy security glass is not easy to do without completely replacing things like wooden doors and window frames. This would completely change the nature of the building’s architecture and remove historic value.

In order to preserve the building’s heritage, this was not done. And, aside from complete window and door replacement, the options for glass reinforcement are limited.

So, despite all the modern security systems and personnel, the angry mob was able to breach many of the Capitol’s windows because they didn’t create physical barriers.

Does the Capitol Have Any Glass Security At All?

From what we can see in photos and videos of the riot, it appears that some of the Capitol’s windows were reinforced by security window film. We can tell this because there were broken windows in which the shards remained in place, rather than shattering inwards.

Though security window film doesn’t prevent glass from breaking, it holds the shards together, which delays forced entry attempts and prevents injury due to flying pieces of glass. 

If the windows didn’t have this reinforcement, there could have been even more breaches and injuries within the Capitol that day. This goes to show the importance of glass reinforcement for government buildings and other types of high-security facilities.

 

How Can Government Buildings Improve Their Glass Security?

The Best Alternative to Laminated Security Glass and Security Window Film

Security window film is a great product and does provide a basic level of glass reinforcement. But, as we mentioned, it doesn’t prevent the glass from breaking. 

Retrofitting a building with laminated security glass is a stronger option, but because of the weight and thickness of the glass this isn’t viable for many buildings, especially older ones.

There is a third option that can work for many types of facilities: polycarbonate glazing shields.

Containment-grade or ballistic-grade polycarbonate panels can be installed right over your existing glass to protect it from breaking and keep would-be intruders from breaching your facility.

Like window glass, polycarbonate is completely transparent. However, polycarbonate is much stronger and lighter than glass, meaning that it doesn’t require as strong of a framing system to support it as other types of bullet-resistant security glass do.

Polycarbonate Glazing Shield Facts:

  • Transparent
  • Glass-like surface hardness
  • Highly impact resistant
  • Lighter than glass
  • Available in containment grade and ballistic grades

 

Where Can You Get Polycarbonate Glazing Shields?

For virtually unbreakable strength, we recommend choosing something out of the ArmorPlast™ line of polycarbonate glazing shields. For example, if forced entry is your main concern, ArmorPlast™ AP25 is a great option.

AP25 is a containment-grade, non-ballistic glazing shield. This means that it won’t stop bullets, but it also won’t appreciably diminish in strength or break down after repeated impacts. Rioters can try to smash or shoot through AP25 all they like — they aren’t going to get through it.

Because of its strength, lightness, and versatility, AP25 is a popular choice for school, hospital, retail store, and correctional and psychiatric facility glass reinforcement. It’s an ideal choice for creating a physical barrier to forced entry.

Whether you’re worried about an angry mob trying to breach your facility or about smash-and-grab theft at your retail store, ArmorPlast™ will ensure that nobody is easily able to break their way into your property through a glass door or window.

 

Our Final Thoughts

The U.S. Capitol riot is an interesting case study for glass security. We can see from the events that standard window glass does nothing to keep out intruders. 

We can also see that even a basic level of glass reinforcement, such as security window film, can do a lot to delay entry and protect those inside from injury.

For more information about how ArmorPlast™ can make your building more secure, contact us today.

Does Taping Windows Help During Hurricanes? Don’t Make This Mistake

By | Blog, Storm Protection

The belief that taping your windows during a hurricane will help keep them intact is a MYTH, and a dangerous one.

You should absolutely NEVER tape your windows before a hurricane. Keep reading to find out why.

 

Does Taping Windows Help During a Hurricane? The Truth

Debunking the Dangerous Belief That Taping Glass Prevents Storm Damage

We’re not sure how exactly people started getting the idea that putting tape on your windows before a storm, in an “X” pattern or otherwise, can prevent them from shattering or somehow make them safer.

What we can say with confidence is that under no circumstances is doing this a good idea. In fact, putting tape on your windows can actually make them more dangerous during a hurricane.

Putting tape over window glass does nothing to make it stronger, but it can cause the glass to shatter into bigger, more dangerous shards if it’s impacted by flying storm debris. It’s better to have a window break into smaller pieces that are less likely to cause injury.

Obviously, we’re not advocating for leaving your windows unprotected during a hurricane, but if your only options are leaving them clear or putting tape on them, definitely leave the tape in the drawer.

Reasons not to tape windows to prevent storm damage:

  • Proven NOT to work
  • Wastes time that you can use to put up real protection
  • Can cause glass to break into bigger pieces
  • Taped windows are more likely to cause injury than untaped windows

Now that we’ve shattered that myth, let’s take a look at some real hurricane protection methods that you can use to protect your glass and prevent storm damage.

 

Alternatives to Taping Windows Before a Storm That Actually Work

Proven ways to protect your existing window glass during a hurricane:

  1. Apply safety and security window film
  2. Retrofit your windows with laminated security glass

Before we continue, it’s important to know that the two options above are for protecting the glass itself and are not meant to replace the strength of other hurricane mitigation barriers like plywood boards, storm panels, or hurricane shutters.

That being said, they are both effective options for preventing glass from shattering dangerously inwards as well as for keeping windows intact to reduce the likelihood of further water and wind damage to your property.

 

Option 1: Reinforce glass with security window film

Safety and security window film is a pliable Mylar coating that is applied directly to any existing glass that you want to fortify against impacts.

These types of window films won’t prevent the glass from breaking due to an impact from storm debris thrown at it by hurricane-force winds, but it can prevent the broken shards of glass from flying inwards.

Unlike taping your windows during a hurricane, this method of reinforcing your windows DOES make them less dangerous to anyone sheltering inside. It can also help broken windows retain their shape to continue blocking wind and rain.

 

Option 2: Retrofit glass doors and windows with security glass

Laminated security glass is another, even stronger, option you have for reinforcing your property’s glass against storm damage. This type of glass consists of a thermoplastic interlayer and two outer layers of glass that make it highly impact resistant.

It’s strong enough to remain completely intact after some impacts, and if it does crack it won’t shatter inwards. The security glass laminates will retain the shards of glass and their shape to greatly reduce the probability of injury and interior storm damage.

In many cases, security glass panels can be retrofitted into your existing framing, making them a very cost-effective solution when it comes to storm damage mitigation. The panels look and feel like standard window glass, so you won’t notice a difference.

 

Conclusion: Don’t Tape Your Windows Before a Hurricane

There’s no magical quick-fix to save your windows during a storm, and taping glass before a hurricane is something you should never do.

Instead, invest your time and resources in real security glass products and other storm damage prevention barriers that actually work.

 

Contact us today or have your local glass contractor give us a call to discuss how we can help you implement effective hurricane damage mitigation solutions.

How Can Retailers Make a Bullet Resistant Storefront?

By | Blog, Storm Protection

When you think of candidates for bullet resistant glass, retail stores might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, there are many reasons retailers can benefit from upgrading to a bullet resistant storefront.

The most obvious purpose of bullet resistant glass is that it protects against gun crime and active shooters, which can unfortunately happen anywhere. 

When it comes to retail businesses, not only do bullet resistant storefronts protect against ballistic attacks, but they provide a high level of security against more common threats like forced entry, burglary, smash-and-grab theft, vandalism, rioting, looting, and more.

Everything You Need to Know About Bullet Resistant Storefronts

Why Would Retailers Want to Make Their Storefronts Bullet Resistant?

Bullet resistant glass doesn’t just make a property more secure in the event of a ballistic attack — it improves storefront security in just about every way.

While video surveillance, alarm systems, and security patrols do go a long way towards deterring burglary and theft, what they don’t do is make your glass storefront any less vulnerable.

An experienced burglar or even an amateur with a rock can smash through standard window glass in a matter of seconds, gaining access to your property and all the valuable merchandise inside.

What bullet resistant security glass and glass-like products do is actually create a physical barrier to reinforce your existing glass and significantly delay or even prevent forced entry altogether.

Bullet resistant glass protects against:

  • Active shooters
  • Forced entry
  • Burglary
  • Smash-and-grab theft
  • Vandalism
  • Rioting
  • Looting
  • Bomb blasts
  • Storm damage

What Materials Can You Use for a Bullet Resistant Storefront?

For the absolute highest level of ballistic and forced entry protection for retailers, we recommend the ArmorPlast™ polycarbonate panels and security framing system.

These polycarbonate panels look and feel like window glass, but they have the virtually unbreakable strength of polycarbonate. ArmorPlast™ polycarbonate sheets are available in a variety of thicknesses and compositions, from containment grade to ballistic grade.

Before we continue, it’s important for you to understand the difference between containment-grade and ballistic-grade glazing shields.

Containment-grade glazing shields are non-ballistic polycarbonate sheets, meaning that they don’t actually stop bullets from passing through. However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t provide an extremely high level of security.

In fact, containment-grade glazing shields can be riddled with bullets and still not break down or appreciably diminish in strength. 

This means that even an active shooter trying to gain access to a facility can’t shoot out a window, so a burglar attempting to force entry certainly can’t get inside your property through a window. 

We recommend containment-grade ArmorPlast™ AP25 for most retail applications when the primary concern is forced entry.

For those looking for a higher level of security that protects more against ballistic attacks, there are a variety of ballistic-grade ArmorPlast™ options available. Each model of ballistic-grade glazing shield is provided with a UL 752 ballistic rating by the Underwriters’ Laboratory (UL).

UL is the global leader in safety science, and their ballistic ratings for security glass are a standard in the industry. Each UL rating means that a specific piece of material can withstand a certain number of ballistic rounds of a certain caliber and weight, fired at different velocities.

This chart shows the different levels of UL 752 ratings:

For example, ArmorPlast™ AP75, the entry-level ballistic-grade glazing shield offered by ArmorPlast™, has a UL 752 Level 1 rating. This means that it can withstand three 124-grain rounds fired from a 9mm handgun.

The strongest ballistic-grade ArmorPlast™ sheet is AP125MS, which holds a UL 752 Level 6 rating. It can withstand 5 rounds fired from a high-speed 9mm firearm, such as an Uzi.

The different types of ArmorPlast™:

  • AP25 (containment grade)
  • AP375 (containment grade)
  • AP50 (containment grade)
  • AP75 (UL 752 Level 1)
  • AP100 (UL 752 Level 2)
  • AP125 (UL 752 Level 3)
  • AP125MS (UL 752 Level 6)

Keep the Bad Guys Out with ArmorPlast™ Bullet Resistant Storefront Glazing

So, now that you understand more about how ballistic glazing shields work, let’s take a closer look at exactly how ArmorPlast™ can protect your business from many types of threats that retail stores face.

These polycarbonate panels are designed to fit over your existing glass to create a protective barrier that resists all types of impacts.

If even a containment-grade glazing shield, such as AP25, doesn’t break after being shot at, can you imagine how little a bat or a crowbar can do to it?

Take a look at this video to see just how strong AP25 is:

Besides stopping would-be burglars dead in their tracks, ArmorPlast™ protects your business during times of civil unrest, with no need to board up your storefront. Rioters and looters move on quickly once they realize that hurled or swung objects won’t break your store’s glass!

In addition to protecting your business against criminals, bullet resistant storefront glass also makes it more secure when mother nature acts unpredictably. 

If your storefront gets impacted by a piece of flying storm debris, the glass remains totally protected by the virtually unbreakable security glazing. 

Your windows aren’t going to shatter dangerously inwards, potentially injuring anyone inside and requiring expensive repairs and replacement. 

Polycarbonate glazing shields even protect glass from seismic damage and bomb blasts to some degree.

Characteristics of AP25:

  • 1/4-inch AR polycarbonate glazing shield
  • Abrasion- and UV-resistant sheet
  • Resists yellowing and hazing
  • Highly resistant to cracking and shattering
  • Ideal for retail forced entry and smash-and-grab burglary protection

Conclusion

Every retail store needs a comprehensive security system to protect their storefront against forced entry, vandalism, looting, accidental damage, and more serious violent attacks. 

Even a containment-grade polycarbonate glazing shield provides a much higher level of security than any type of safety or security glass on the market, making it a worthy investment to protect your business against potentially devastating financial loss or worse.

 

Riot Glass™ has years of experience making retail stores and all other types of commercial facilities more secure with our line of products, including ArmorPlast™. Contact us today for more information.

What Should Be on Your Business’s Hurricane Preparedness Checklist?

By | Blog, Storm Protection

With the 2021 hurricane season fast approaching, now is the time to evaluate how prepared your business is for a storm hitting your area. 

Whether you run a corporate office, a retail store, or a small business of any type, there are steps you should take to ensure business continuity after a storm. 

Hurricane preparedness for businesses can be broken down into three areas: people (i.e. employees), assets (i.e. products, equipment, data, etc.), and location (i.e. physical property).

We’ve put together some examples of hurricane preparedness checklists for each of these key parts of your business to help you weather the storm.

Examples of Hurricane Preparedness Checklists for Businesses

Commercial Hurricane Preparedness Checklist: People

A company is nothing without its employees, so take steps to make sure all of your people will be safe during a hurricane. That way, when the storm passes you can get back to business as usual.

What to do before hurricane season:

  • Make sure you have updated contact info for stakeholders
  • Know where each employee is located at any given time
  • Put a mass notification system in place
  • Create an emergency communications plan

Stakeholders include customers/clients, employees, suppliers, and investors or business partners. Make sure you’re able to contact all relevant stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition back to business after a storm.

Make sure you also know where all of your employees are at any given time, meaning what their schedule is, where they physically work in your facility, where they live if they work from home/remotely, and where they’ll be if they’re travelling.

Create some kind of mass notification system and emergency communications plan to keep people updated and connected before/during/after a storm. Employees will be looking to management for guidance and to stay informed. 

Commercial Hurricane Preparedness Checklist: Assets

Assets are everything that’s essential to your business besides your personnel and location. In other words, your business wouldn’t be able to run without them, so ensure that all your assets are prepared for a hurricane to prevent heavy post-storm financial losses.

Things to do before storm season:

  • Know where all your assets are located
  • Determine what kind of physical protection is available for assets
  • Prioritize asset protection by how essential they are to business
  • Store backup data offsite
  • Know which assets are owned and make sure they’re insured if possible
  • Determine what your responsibility is if any leased assets get damaged

In order to protect your assets, you must know where all of them are. If you keep things off site, such as in a warehouse or at a secondary facility, make sure you know what is where.

It’s also important to determine what your options are for protecting physical assets. Can you move them to a more secure site? Can you secure them in a different part of the building? Decide what your most important assets are and come up with a plan.

As for securing data, make sure all your digital data is secured off site (i.e. in the cloud). If you have physical data, such as files, you can scan them and store copies online.

Finally, make sure you’re aware of which assets are owned vs leased. For owned assets, insure them against hurricanes whenever possible. For anything lease, find out what you’re responsible for if they get damaged during a storm.

Commercial Hurricane Preparedness Checklist: Location

While you can move people and assets around before a storm to keep them safe, your physical location is something you can’t change. That’s why you absolutely must implement security measures to fortify your physical property against storm damage.

 What you need to do before hurricane season:

  • Determine what the biggest risk to your facility is
  • Create an evacuation plan
  • Know how fortified your property is
  • Ensure your roof is in good condition
  • Secure outdoor items
  • Reinforce window glass

Evaluate your commercial facility’s location and physical security to decide what the biggest risks are. Does it have a lot of vulnerable glass doors and windows? Is it close enough to the shore to worry about storm surge? Get a professional threat assessment to help you with this.

Make an evacuation plan for getting out of your building and share it with all of your employees. Print maps of the best routes to get out of the building and include a meeting place for people to regroup outside. Your property management company or building security can help with this.

 

Get your roof inspected and have any problems repaired to avoid problems during a storm. Ensure outdoor items like furniture, signs, lights, and roof-mounted equipment are all securely bolted down so there’s less of a risk of things becoming flying storm debris.

Finally, reinforce glass doors and windows to prevent them from breaking due to wind damage and storm debris impacts. You can do this with hurricane shutters or storm panels, but we highly recommend installing impact windows.

Our coastal clients are increasingly turning to ArmorPlast™ AP25 to fortify their commercial buildings against storm damage. 

AP25 is a polycarbonate glazing shield that can be retrofitted over your existing glass to provide 24/7 storm damage protection without noticeably changing your property’s appearance. 

These shields look and feel very similar to glass, but have the virtually unbreakable impact resistance of polycarbonate.

Benefits of AP25:

  • Crystal clear
  • Virtually unbreakable
  • One-time installation
  • Permanent hurricane mitigation barrier
  • Protects against forced entry and more

 

Conclusion

News of an approaching hurricane is never welcome, but with the right preparation you can relax a little knowing that your business’s post-storm continuity is protected. 

That way, you can take care of yourself and your loved ones and get back to running your business when the skies are calm again.

 

Our team of glass security experts is always happy to discuss the storm damage mitigation solutions we offer with you or your local glass contractor. Give us a call today to find out how we can help fortify your property before the next hurricane season!

How To Prepare for a Hurricane: Expert Recommendations

By | Blog, Storm Protection

If your place of business is in a hurricane-prone area, such as Florida or anywhere along the southeastern coasts of the United States, it’s very important to be properly prepared for hurricane season. 

The Atlantic hurricane season is officially from June 1 to November 30, so take advantage of the off season to brush up on your hurricane preparedness knowledge.

How To Prepare for a Hurricane: What the Experts Say 

Things You Should Do to Prepare Your Business for Hurricane Season

You may already have a hurricane preparedness plan in place for you and your family, but don’t overlook your commercial property’s hurricane readiness. 

Steps to take before hurricane season:

  • Print important documents
  • Put together an emergency supply kit
  • Make a plan for if a hurricane hits
  • Be prepared to evacuate
  • Have different ways to receive alerts
  • Protect glass with storm damage mitigation barriers

Gathering Important Documents

The CDC recommends printing out a list of emergency numbers, insurance information, and any other important information that’s online or on your computer before a hurricane hits.

That way, if power outages and storm damage prevent you from accessing electronic files, you still have access to that critical information.

This would also be a good time to review your insurance policies and make sure you have adequate coverage, in case your business gets damaged during the next storm season.

Making an Emergency Kit

Just like you probably have an emergency kit at home and/or in your car, it’s important to have one somewhere on your commercial property as well. 

Stock your business with basic items like food, water, and medical supplies. Make sure you have enough for all your employees, so if they get stranded inside your property during or after a storm they have the essentials.

Your kit should also include flashlights (with extra batteries) and a fire extinguisher. Other useful items to put with your emergency supplies are emergency blankets, a hand crank radio, and some basic tools.

Coming up with a Plan

Create a plan for what to do when a storm hits that includes things like how to prepare the building, where anyone inside should shelter, and how to evacuate if necessary. Share the plan with all your employees to get everyone on the same page.

Make sure everyone has your contact info as well as emergency numbers. Show everyone where the emergency kit is and let them know what’s in it, so they know where to find things if they get caught in the building during a storm.

Preparing for Evacuation

Look up the nearest storm shelters and different routes to get to them, in case you have to evacuate during a hurricane. Plan an evacuation route out of your commercial facility and come up with a backup plan.

Receiving Alerts

There are different apps you can download to receive real-time weather alerts for your area from the National Weather Service, such as the FEMA app. It’s also a good idea to have a portable radio or two in your office to listen to weather alerts just before a storm.

Protecting Windows and Doors from Storm Damage

During a tropical storm or hurricane, glass doors and windows are the most vulnerable points of any commercial property. That’s why the best thing you can do to prepare for a hurricane is ensure that your building’s glass is properly protected.

Ways to fortify glass against storm damage:

  • Plywood boards
  • Hurricane fabric
  • Storm panels and hurricane shutters
  • Impact windows

One of the most common ways homeowners and business owners secure their property before a storm is by boarding up windows with plywood sheets. We won’t deny that plywood does create a durable barrier to protect your glass, but this often isn’t a practical solution.

For starters, if you have a large commercial facility, the time and labor that goes into installing plywood makes it completely impractical. Not only that, but you’ll be blocking out all natural light, cutting off all visibility, and making your business look shut down. 

If a storm passes by without even hitting your building, then it was all for nothing. Not to mention you now have to take all the boards down again and find somewhere to store them.

Commercial products like hurricane fabric, storm panels, and hurricane shutters provide slightly better solutions, but they still require you to put them in place before a storm. Which brings us to our last option: impact windows.

We strongly believe impact windows are the best hurricane mitigation barriers for commercial buildings. They provide much more durability and strength than plywood and have none of its disadvantages.

Benefits of impact windows for hurricane protection:

  • One-time installation
  • Permanent, 24/7 storm damage protection
  • Completely clear (look and feel like regular windows)
  • Virtually unbreakable
  • Protect against other threats (forced entry, burglary, rioting, looting, vandalism, smash-and-grab theft)
  • Retain appearance of property
  • Let natural light in
  • Allow full visibility

When we talk with commercial clients about hurricane impact windows, we always recommend ArmorPlast™ AP25 to them. AP25 is a containment-grade polycarbonate glazing shield that can be retrofitted right over your existing glass without noticeably changing its outward appearance.

Because it has the strength of polycarbonate (and contains no glass at all) it is virtually unbreakable and is much stronger than other types of safety and security glass available on the market.

These glazing shields are impervious to wind damage and can easily bounce away storm debris hurled by hurricane-force winds, keeping your glass doors and windows intact and the interior of your building protected.

Whereas standard window glass and many types of strengthened glass can still break apart and expose your business during a heavy storm, AP25 won’t even crack after multiple high-force impacts.

Now That You Know How To Prepare for a Hurricane…

Let Us Help You Protect Your Windows During a Hurricane

Contact us today for more information about our storm damage mitigation solutions or have your local glass contractor get in touch to discuss retrofitting your building with ArmorPlast™ AP25.