When property and business owners begin to consider ballistic security, they often erroneously look at it as a few components that can be dropped into place: Swap the glass for 1.5-inch thick acrylic, install a bullet proof door, and you’re ready to go.
Failing to see bullet resistant panels, frames, doors, and windows as an integrate system results in a sloppy ballistic barrier. When it comes to stopping bullets, clumsy security is worse than no security at all.
FORGETTING THE BULLET PROOF PANELS
When contractors or property owners think in terms of components instead of systems, it’s easy to leave things out. Total Security Solutions vice president Jim Richards has, on many occasions, had tight-lipped contractors insist he bid on designs that it was hard to fathom. “They’ll have me quote on a design that calls for a row of four windows with no communication system or deal trays. Now, that looks like a transaction line–which needs some way for staff and customers to interact–but if the contractors aren’t going to share their thinking, I’m stuck bidding on what they’ve drawn, not what they actually need.”
Bullet resistant panels–concealed behind counters, drywall, or paint–are just such an easily neglected detail. But they’re of vital importance. In a robbery, the natural inclination of any counter worker is to duck for cover. A checkout counter without the added benefit of bullet resistant paneling is nothing more than veneered plywood–useless against even a tiny .22, let alone the 9mm and 45-caliber bullets that are most commonly used in armed robberies today.
BULLET RESISTANT PANEL STRUCTURAL CONCERNS
The other major risk for those who decide to “save money” and throw together their own piecemeal system is that they are likely to make unsafe assumptions during installation. For example, while the individual components in any system–such as the bullet resistant panels themselves–may not be very heavy, the weight of the complete system can be significant. Even just backing a stud wall with bullet resistant panels can almost double that wall’s weight. Adding a bullet proof door on top of that–which can weigh several hundred pounds more than a standard door–might prove structurally disastrous.
Experienced bullet proof system designers can quickly estimate the added strain a bullet resistant panel system brings to bear, and check to be sure that walls and door frames are properly framed and blocked. Similarly, during the installation process a bullet proof company will be able to guide contractors–even those with no previous ballistic security experience–in proper installation so that no element of the building or system is compromised.