School Safety and Security

Security Window Film...What you need to know.

While Security Window Film may seem like a new invention, it's actually been around for a long time, over 40 years! Safety and Security Window Film may not be new, but it has come a long way, and new features like the Attachment System have been recommended to increase its performance.

If you've landed on this BLOG, you're probably a bit interested in the product, and you've probably watched footage of security window film being put to the test on YouTube, and other sites. While these videos do give us a good idea of how Security Window Film performs, they can also be a bit confusing.

Let's start with answering the question, just what it is Security Window Film?

  • Security Window Film is a thick piece of window film ranging from 4 mil - 18 mil's (a mil is a thousandth of an inch) in thickness. Some of these films are developed using a cross woven process of the polyester material (I'm sure that was confusing). Long story short, in a blast an 8 mil cross woven film may provide as much protection as a 14 mil security film that isn't cross woven. Check with the window film manufacturer or a reputable window film dealer to better understand what type of Security Window Film will work best for you, and be sure to ask for the testing data. Recommended installations, and test information should always be provided by the manufacturer, and this information is readily available.

Regardless of the mil, security film is designed to hold the glass in place should it break. Holding the glass fragments together can reduce injury, as well as deter potential intruders by making the glass more resistant.

Another important component of any Security Window Film system is the addition or lack thereof, of the Attachment System. Any video you've watched online most likely has an Attachment System applied along with the Security Window Film.

So just what is this attachment system?

  • The Attachment System is typically a silicone bead, much like you see on the frame of commercial glass, applied after the installation of the Security Window Film, the Attachment System bonds the Security Window Film to the frame of the glass, giving you the highest level of security. In some instances Security Window Film, and an Attachment System are strong enough to withstand a bomb blast! With that said, the attachment system will not work with all window frames, it’s important that the frames of your glass can accommodate at a minimum 3/8 to 1/2 inch bead of silicone attachment to the film and frame of the glazing system in order to achieve optimal results.

So what if you're not concerned with a bomb, why do YOU need to consider the Attachment System? Think of it this way, many times the most trouble free windows for an intruder are typically ones like your sliding glass door, or the front entrance to a store. That is because tempered glass (safety glass) is used on these areas. Tempered glass is designed to shatter into thousands of pieces once broken to prevent large shards of glass from injuring someone. Making these windows pretty easy to break out.

Let's say you put Security Window Film on tempered glass without an Attachment System. The Security Window Film will hold the glass together, leaving the intruder to push the glass out in one piece. You may have just help the intruder not get cut while he’s breaking in. If the attachment were to be added, that film is anchored to the frame, making it very difficult to penetrate.

If you add the Attachment System, does that mean your glass in impenetrable?

  • Well, no. Like most security products, security film is a deterrent. It is not 100% foolproof. However it can assist you with more time to respond.

  • Also, the attachment system simply won’t work on some window frames. Recommended silicone attachment is between a 3/8-1/2 inch thick bead, ideally being 1/2 inch. Some frames just can’t support this, allowing the Security Film System to give you some additional benefit, but not optimal performance. It’s important to consult with professional window film company to ensure your window frames are suitable for a Security Film System.

The most FAQ window film dealers get is: Is it bullet proof?

  • The answer is no. Our 3M Security Window Films are not bullet proof.

Another important question is cost. About how much does a Security Window Film install cost?

  • Price can vary depending on where you live, the brand of security film you are purchasing, and the company you are hiring for your film and installation. A professional Security Window Film installation will probably run you between $12-$20 per square foot installed. The Attachment System will be in addition, and is charged per linear foot. Many times the Attachment System can be as much as the film, this is due to the labor and skill required for the application. Be sure to work with a reputable experienced window film company when purchasing security film, you'll get what you pay for!

A professional estimate and site visit should be required for Security Window Film installations as they aren’t all the same. The application and type of security window film will be determined by your windows and frames. The Attachment System simply won't work in every scenario, and may have a high potential of turning out ugly, think Wood Framed French pane windows, not a good look with the Attachment System, and more importantly, not effective. Always work with a credible window film dealer that works alongside a credible window film manufacturer like 3M, to ensure you are having your film applied to the manufacturers recommendations by a Professional Window Film Installer.

Also, Window Film Dealers may be experts in our field of window film, however we are not “security” experts. Consult with a security expert if you need assistance deciding which windows in your home or building need Security Window Film the most.  

 In the above Safety and Security Film a 3 part Security Film system is used, starting with an exterior safety film 3M S70, the interior side of the glass has 3M S14 applied with 3M’s IPA.

 

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School Safety Improvement

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School safety is an ever growing concern for schools. As a teacher of 34 years, I have seen a number of ways window films can be effectively used to improve school safety. The window film is retrofitted into already existing buildings which is much less expensive than replacing windows. Applying the film creates no mess and the windows are easily cleaned. Safety

Accidents involving glass account for a large percent of injuries in schools. Large areas of glass may not be seen by students and they may run into them. It is important to make the glass more visible. This can be done by applying opaque film or simple patterned film to the glass such as Fasara (http://solutions.3m.com/ ) It is important to make it apparent that the glass is there. The film can cover all or a portion of the glass. Every window or other transparent surface in a wall, partition and door or gate should be of safety material or be protected against breakage of the transparent material. It should be appropriately marked or have something to make it apparent. Film around door handles also help make the glass visible. Graphics can be used to make the glass more visible. The film can add to the learning environment and make it very creative and appealing. Graphics can be used to increase school spirit or motivate achievement in students and staff. Any picture or logo can be printed on the film.

Lettering Applied at Education Center

Safety glass is required in high risk areas. Window film will hold the glass in place if someone runs into the glass. Tempered or toughened glass breaks into squares. Tempered glass may be defective because of manufacturing flaws. Impurities can get into the glass. Sometimes during installation small chips may occur. As the glass expands stresses will develop which may break the glass. When the stress is greater than the strength of the glass it will break. Window film on tempered glass assures that no one will be cut by the glass. Clean up is also very easy.

Glass should be:

  •  Safe from breakage
  •  Visible to avoid accidental collision

Safety can also be increased during weather events with window film. With straight line winds or a tornado most injuries are caused by flying glass. The window film holds the glass shards together. People in the building will not get cut by flying glass.

Security

Unfortunately, we live in a world where we need to keep unwanted intruders out of our schools and away from our children. As a teacher in a rural public high school, quite often we had bomb threats. Real or just a stupid prank, the school officials had to take it seriously. We would have to be moved to another school or a nearby church until the building was secure. If the threat had been real and there had been an explosion, bomb blast window film would prevent glass shards from entering the rooms and injuring students. 90% of all injuries from bombs is caused by flying glass. Even a small piece of glass can injure someone.

If a gun was rumored to be in the school or if there was a tip of a threat, then the school goes into lock down. All the classroom doors are locked until the threat has passed. Schools now have all outer doors locked. One generally has to be let into the school by someone in the office. If a person comes to the door shooting or begins shooting after entering, there is bulletproof window film. The film is expected to delay an active shooter from entering a school from three seconds to two minutes.

Security window film with an attachment will prevent entrance into the building.  A person using something like a baseball bat or crowbar, will be disappointed. Chances are the person will move on. A determined person still may get into the building, but his entry will slowed to the point that the police will have an opportunity to arrive on the scene.  The security film helps to prevent break-ins for theft or vandalism.  Solar Vision has applied 3M™ Safety and Security Window Film to several  school entrances as a test sites for other schools. 3M™ Safety and Security Film is being used in an increasing number of schools. 3M recommends using the Ultra Series S600 or the Safety Series S140. Impact Protection Attachment Systems bond the filmed window to the frame optimizing security. (http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Window_Film/Solutions/Support/Safety_and_Security_Window_Films)

At a 2014 Campus Safety Conference held at the University of Southern California , Brad Spicer, SafePlans CEO, outlined strategies to improve the safety of main entrances. One thing he recommended was having shatter resistant security window film applied on the doors and windows to make it harder for intruders to enter the building.. (http://www.campussafetymagazine.com/article/physical_securitys_role_in_a_k_12_environment)

Why use security Film in Schools:

  •  Security film is less expensive than replacing all windows and doors with laminated glass.
  •  The security film is easy to apply over existing glazing
  •  The film doesn't stop a determined individual from entering a building, but gives extra time for help to arrive.

Anti-Graffiti

Why do kids do graffiti??? It is such a waste and such a problem in schools. Anti-Graffiti film can be applied to windows. The film acts as a sacrificial layer. The acid, paint or permanant marker is on the film. The film then can be removed and reapplied. Doing this quickly keeps from giving the vandals the attention they seek. The film can be applied to bathroom mirrors and outdoor signs as well.

Anti-graffiti film at the City County building