Written By: Brad Campbell | July 5, 2019
The importance of keeping an armed intruder out of a building cannot be underestimated. Once inside, the situation goes from bad to infinitely worse. Building occupants need sufficient time to gather their wits, spring into action, and switch on the run, hide, fight mindset.
Dexterity and decision-making can be significantly diminished in the panic following the realization that an actual attack is taking place. As a result, every second matters. Time is needed to get focused and take meaningful action, to exit or barricade in a room, and to calm anyone else who may be panicked and unsure of what to do. Deterring or slowing an intruder is the key to increasing the chances for survival.
If a school or facility has access controls and all doors remained locked, occupants may feel a false sense of security. Locked doors, alarms, and cameras are important, but ignoring windows and glass doors is a fatal flaw in many active threat protection strategies.
There are many misconceptions surrounding fenestration security. Chief among them are the options an armed intruder has when endeavoring to enter a building. Most attackers go to a door and attempt to open it. If the door is locked they may immediately feel a sense of urgency as the adrenaline dumps into their bloodstream. Searching the building perimeter for an unlocked door will seem time-consuming, so finding a quicker way to enter in the immediate vicinity will likely be the next action. If the door has vision glass, or if there is a window adjacent to the door, breaking the glass to gain entry is a tactic an intruder will likely use.
Fire egress panic hardware is mandated in common areas for safety. An occupant need only crash into the door to trigger the panic hardware, allowing the door to fly open. While this is ideal for fire safety, it is a vulnerability when it comes to security. An attacker can simply break the glass, reach in, and pull the panic hardware to gain entry. This can be done more quickly than using a key to unlock a door and renders access controls useless.
Glass doors and windows in entrances of buildings must be tempered for safety. Tempering is a process where glass is heated and then rapidly cooled to create internal compression. By design, when the glass breaks, it shatters into millions of tiny pieces, preventing any large shards of glass. The result is a safer window, but a substantially higher security risk. An attacker need only strike or shoot the glass for it to burst and immediately fall into a pile of gravel which can be simply stepped over to gain entry.
Security window film is often used to slow or prevent entry, but on tempered glass it must be attached at the edges to prevent the whole broken piece from being dislodged. Often, especially on doors, the attachment options are limited and can readily fail. Even if the attachment does not fail, the film itself can be “punched through” with a tool such as a hammer, metal bar, or even the butt of a gun. Window film may slow an attacker, but if he is prepared, the delay is often only a few seconds. He need only punch a hole large enough to insert his hand and pull the panic bar or access the thumb turn on the lock cylinder. Window film, however, is a viable solution for non-entry areas, especially when the glass is annealed.
Laminated glass is another common method used to secure glass vulnerabilities. This technology is essentially two pieces of glass with a window film-type interlayer sandwiched in between, offering similar protection to that of window films. The vulnerability of puncture remains and can be thwarted in seconds if the attacker is prepared with an object to strike the glass.
Bulletproof glass is another way facilities protect entrances, but there is a significant cost barrier for many, as these materials are far more expensive than the other options. Additionally, the sheer weight of these materials is such that a simple retrofit is not always possible. It may involve removing the existing doors and windows and adding in new framing, and/or changing the hinges and door closers to accommodate the extra weight. This may be the ideal solution from a protection standpoint, but is cost prohibitive more often than not.
Riot Glass LLC saw a clear gap between the lower-level and the high-end protection options, and developed a shielding product called ArmorPlast (AP25). This system includes an unbreakable, containment-grade panel and a retrofit framing that is attached to the outside surface of a door or window frame. It becomes a shield that protects the glass and prevents access. Although AP25 does not stop bullets, it does not crack or shatter. Even after being riddled with bullets, it remains a barrier to entry because it cannot be dislodged and a would-be intruder’s hand cannot pass through to open the door. AP25 is lightweight and can be retrofitted onto most glass doors. It can also be mounted in front of the windows adjacent the doors for added (and highly recommended) protection.
Police response times vary greatly, but range on average from 3-5 minutes. We often see that a lot of damage can be done within that time frame, so slowing or preventing entry is crucial. When a would-be intruder is kept outside, they are likely to panic and abandon the attack altogether. The longer the delay, the more likely they will be deterred. Police can locate and neutralize the threat far more easily if an intruder is still outside when they arrive.
We set out to create a protection system that is affordable, superior in strength, light weight, and easy to install. ArmorPlast 25 is the product that fills the gap between low-cost weaker solutions, and higher priced ballistic solutions. ArmorPlast was designed to protect students and faculty, employees of businesses, persons of prominent notoriety, and anyone who may otherwise fall victim to the horrific crimes that motivated its inception.
For more information call 800-580-2303, or fill out the form below.
See ArmorPlast in action here.