Because bullet proof doors are built and shipped as drop-in units, business owners often think of them as a drop-in security solution. But that door is only ever going to be as good as the system into which it is integrated. Each door system needs to be designed to both stop bullets and ease the business’s day-to-day operations.
SIMPLE BULLET PROOF DOOR SYSTEMS
According to Total Security Solutions vice president Jim Richards, stopping bullets is the easy part: If the wall is made of an inherently bullet resistant material (such as cinderblock, brick, or poured concrete), then hang your UL-rated bullet proof door, and you’re all set. Otherwise, the wall will need to be backed with bullet resistant fiberglass (a pretty easy job for any contractor). Likewise, if there are windows, they need to be glazed with UL rated ballistic glass.
This is all very straightforward, a weekend project at most. But none of that matters if the door ends up chocked open all day because it’s getting in the workers’ way. It’s the business applications that make designing a bullet proof door system complicated.
BULLET PROOF DOORS AND BUSINESS APPLICATIONS
“When we’re talking to a new client looking just for a bullet proof door, the first thing we usually try to identify is the application. Nine times out of ten, once we get a sense of their application, we discover that there are other needs there.”
For example, if a client is looking to secure an exterior door other than the main entrance, it’s totally possible that all they need is the bullet resistant door: An auxiliary entrance is likely to be along a windowless cinderblock wall that’s more than tough enough to stop bullets. If the door is kept locked, security is basically assured.
But as Jim’s staff learns more about the business, they might discover that occasional deliveries are made to this door. It’s certainly not a good security practice to just throw the door open whenever someone comes knocking. The solution might be to fit the bullet resistant door with a small peephole or window–especially if deliveries are infrequent, regularly scheduled, and performed by familiar couriers. But if deliveries are more frequent or erratically timed, staff will likely need a better communication system–such as an intercom–to establish who has come a-knocking. For high-volume businesses, it might even make the most sense to install a package passer, or even a transactional bullet proof door.
IDENTICAL BUILDINGS, UNIQUE BULLET PROOF DOORS
“It’s these day-to-day business needs that define the system that door is part of,” Jim explains. “Two different businesses with identical buildings might need two totally different bullet proof door systems. It could even be the same kind of business, but if they’re operating it differently, they need different doors. You can’t just drop that door in and call it a day.”