Security Window Film: An Affordable Way To Improve Building Security

Building securityThere are many upgrades you can add to a facility to improve its security, including surveillance systems, alarm systems, controlled access entry points, locks, security guards, and more.

However, a building is only as secure as its most vulnerable potential entry points. In almost all cases, the most insecure components of any facility are its glass doors and windows. 

 

The Importance of Glass Reinforcement For Building Security

Why Use Security Window Film to Upgrade Building Security?

Things like surveillance cameras, alarms, and security personnel can go a long way towards deterring forced entry, but there’s one thing they don’t do: create a physical barrier to keep would-be intruders outside.

No matter how much security a building has, or appears to have, determined attackers can easily smash through a standard pane of glass to gain access to a facility. 

For high-security facilities, such as government buildings, the ideal method of reinforcing glass doors and windows is to overglaze or back glaze them with some type of strengthened laminated security glass or even unbreakable polycarbonate panels.

There are, however, a few reasons why this isn’t always an option. 

The biggest reason is the cost. Glazing a few windows with security glass is one thing, but if you have a large commercial building you might not have the budget to undertake a huge retrofit.

The other reasons why this may not be an option are because of the architecture of the building. Especially on older buildings, the existing framing and structure surrounding the windows might not be strong enough to support heavy security glass. 

There are also conservational considerations to factor in. Historic buildings have limitations on how much they can be altered in order to preserve their original appearance.

In cases where a security glass retrofit isn’t viable, there is another more affordable, more easy-to-install option available: security window film.

Advantages of security window film:

  • More affordable than security glazing
  • Can be applied to any glass surface
  • Doesn’t affect appearance of glass
  • Can be used on historic buildings

 

What Does Security Window Film Do To Increase Building Security?

In order to understand how security window film works, it’s important to know that it is NOT “unbreakable” or “shatterproof.” 

What this type of window film is intended to do is hold broken shards of glass in place to help a broken window retain its shape and prevent the shards from flying inwards.

So, if windows can still be broken, how does this make your building more secure? 

For forced entry prevention, what security window film does is delay entry enough to deter would-be intruders, allow those inside to react (by calling 911, evacuating, and/or barricading themselves somewhere safe), and give the authorities and/or security personnel time to arrive.

A prime example of security window film in action on a historic, high-security building can be taken from what we witnessed during the breach of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021.

Unfortunately, an angry mob of rioters was able to enter the Capitol, forcing those inside to take shelter in any rooms they could. 

Because of the historic architecture, specifically the wood-framed windows on many of the doors inside the building, it seems that security window film had been chosen to reinforce much of the glass.

You can see in various pictures and videos of the siege that the rioters were attempting to gain access to parts of the building, where congress members and staff were sheltering alongside members of the security team, by smashing windows in doors.

Fortunately, the film that was applied to the inside surfaces of these panes of glass did its job of holding the shards of glass in place, delaying entry and giving police and security time to arrive and deal with the offenders.

Image via https://www.nytimes.com/

Had there been nothing reinforcing the outdated glass, the results could have been very different.

Because of its cost-effectiveness, security window film is an increasingly popular upgrade for government buildings, schools, religious centers, and other high-security facilities. 

Security film can make all the difference during a violent attack, whether perpetrated by one armed individual or by a whole mob of rioters. It goes a long way towards preventing serious injury and loss of life that could otherwise occur if your windows are left unprotected.

 

Benefits of security window film:

  • Holds broken shards of glass in place
  • Helps shattered windows retain their shape
  • Delays forced entry attempts
  • Allows people to react to unexpected attacks
  • Gives security and the authorities more time to arrive

Besides protecting against forced entry and violent attacks, security window film also protects buildings from mother nature. 

During a strong windstorm a piece of flying storm debris can easily smash through a standard glass window, potentially causing injury to someone inside and leaving the building exposed to the elements.

With security window film, even if a piece of storm debris damages a window, the film can hold the window in place and ensure that sharp shards of glass don’t fly dangerously inwards. Security film can even protect windows from seismic damage during earthquakes.

 

Conclusion

Nobody wants to imagine their building being the target of an attack, but the reality is that it can happen anywhere. That’s why it’s so important to take your building’s security seriously and not overlook the vulnerability of its glass doors and windows.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to security, and glass reinforcement like forced-entry-resistant window film should be employed alongside other security systems and personnel for a comprehensive solution.

Elements of an effective building security solution:

  • Strengthened glass (window film or security glazing)
  • Monitored video surveillance
  • Alarm systems
  • Controlled access entry
  • Contemporary locks
  • Security personnel

Campbell Corporation is a leader in the window film industry in the U.S. and a certified partner of 3M Safety and Security Window Film. 

Our professional, knowledgeable team is always happy to discuss you and your building’s security needs and help you come up with a budget-friendly solution. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a consultation.