Bullet Proof Glass and Bullet Resistant Barriers | TSS Bulletproof http://www.tssbulletproof.com Wed, 31 Aug 2016 14:34:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 LEED® Green Building Program for Healthcare Facilities http://www.tssbulletproof.com/leed-green-building-program-healthcare-facilities/ Wed, 31 Aug 2016 14:34:52 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=15810 [...]

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It was once perceived that the more technical a hospital appeared, the better it was received by patients and visitors. More recent evaluations, however, have proven that a stronger emphasis on the patient experience – by creating a warm, inviting atmosphere with access to outdoor spaces and natural light — builds more confidence in the minds of the patients and their families as to the care that will be received. This shift in focus has carried through to the architectural design of hospitals and has transpired into some of the most environmentally-friendly, state-of-the-art healthcare facilities.

The trend toward visual healing has naturally gone hand-in-hand with creating a more environmentally conscious facility. Some hospitals, however, aren’t just incorporating gardens or sprucing up their interior walls. They are going one step farther and earning LEED® green building program certification, a rating system designed to evaluate a building’s environmental performance and encourage sustainable building practices. In April 2011, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) formally launched LEED for Healthcare, a rating system tailored to the specific healthcare codes and standards. More than 225 healthcare facilities have already achieved some level of certification to the LEED-HC standard and an additional 1,100+ projects are in the process.

First LEED Platinum® Hospital

2711257415_f72ec225d7_zDell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas became the first hospital certified LEED Platinum® in 2009 and has also been recognized by third party organizations as one of the top 25 environmentally responsible healthcare facilities in the country and in the top 10 for water conservation, energy conservation and green building practices. One of the biggest thing visitors notice when entering the Dell Children’s Medical Center is the air quality or otherwise lack of “hospital smell” typical of standard hospitals. Additional elements which contributed to a platinum certification include the use of native plants, a green roof, motion sensor lighting to reduce energy consumption and flooring made from rapidly renewable materials, such as cork.

It’s been argued that seeking LEED certification isn’t worth the upfront cost, but the long-term happiness of patients, visitors and staff coupled with lower operating costs have stood as justification for the extra effort and financial commitment.

Photo courtesy of www.flickr.com.

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The Ultimate Guide to Bulletproof Glass

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Green Bullet Proof Barriers for Healthcare Facilities http://www.tssbulletproof.com/green-bullet-proof-barriers-healthcare-facilities/ Thu, 25 Aug 2016 15:00:42 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=15680 [...]

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Buildings use more than half the energy on earth–and in the U.S. those buildings are often hospitals and clinics. Healthcare continues to experience a construction boom in the United States and increasingly, those U.S. healthcare facilities find themselves in need of an enhanced access control system with bullet proof characteristics.

According to a recent survey by Health Facilities Management magazine, “65 percent of hospitals and health systems are specifying green or environmentally friendly materials in all or some of their current construction or renovation projects.” Unfortunately, even as hospitals are continuing to pursue greener buildings and LEED ratings, the bullet proof materials industry has lagged behind, offering few options with enhanced R-values, thermal breaks, gas fills, or meaningful insulation.

The Challenge of Bringing Together Security and LEED

Even worse, few bullet proof window installers design, engineer, and fabricate their own components. Not only are they limited to the commodity materials they can buy from big suppliers, but they also lack the experience needed to integrate a bullet resistant or enhanced access control system into a building with energy efficient results. Issues like indoor environmental quality and comfort just aren’t on their radar.

Consider the standard ballistic fiberglass-backed bullet resistant door or window frame used in your facility’s enhanced access control systems. Such frames are the “top of the line” for most bullet proof installers. Here’s a cross-sectional view:

You’ll note that there are continuous aluminum members connecting the “safe” and “threat” sides of the frame. This is perfectly safe in terms of stop bullets, but absolutely terrible at stopping heat. Aluminum is an excellent heat conductor. While these frames are great in many interior-only applications, they can make a mess of your HVAC system anywhere the great outdoors fluctuates from the ideal indoor temperature of 72 degrees with 40 percent humidity. For example, Total Security Solutions CEO Jim Richards has seen bullet proof barrier systems in the Dakotas where the exterior window frames sweat all summer, then frost over in the winter. From an indoor environmental quality, efficiency, and cost standpoint, it’s almost as if there are gaping holes in the walls.

This, Jim explains, is why TSS introduced their TSS Thermal Frame System this past spring. “We developed this ballistic frame system specifically because architects were asking for it,” Jim said. “This grew directly out of their need to thermally break the exterior of the building, in order to meet their clients’ specific benchmarks, LEED credits, and sustainability goals.”

Significant Experience with “Green” Ballistic Barriers and Enhanced Access Control

Even if a company has some generic experience with designing around HVAC and tuning a building’s envelope, hospital and other healthcare facilities add a whole other layer of challenges because of the complexity of their regulatory and programmatic requirements. TSS is acutely aware of the many ways an access control or bullet resistant barrier system can strain a building’s HVAC and other systems. More importantly, TSS is adept at right-sizing your security system, fitting the right level of protection to the right place in your facility, with the right components to keep you running smoothly.

“We have a lot of experience working with healthcare systems on their access control and bullet resistant security systems,” Jim notes, “Both with the ‘standard’ areas—reception, screening areas, the pharmacy—and also designing and manufacturing totally custom solutions.” For example, the “blood box” TSS built for the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. “What it always comes down to is understanding how healthcare works: the risks they face, the places that trouble is likely to pop up, and the places they need to be able to move between with as little friction as possible in order to get their jobs done.”

Next Steps:

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Hospital Design Affects Healing http://www.tssbulletproof.com/hospital-design-affects-healing/ Wed, 17 Aug 2016 19:21:53 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=15778 [...]

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SMGS_Patient-Room_0While the architectural design of the building is probably not top of mind while sitting in a hospital emergency room or resting in labor & delivery, a lot of decision-making goes into ensuring that a patient’s stay is as pleasant and comfortable as possible. In a situation where minutes can mean life or death, the general layout of a hospital is critical to ensuring patients and hospital staff can move efficiently through the building.

Traditional hospital design, however, leaves a lot to be desired. The hallmark “hospital smell,” plain walls and brightly lit hallways can feel cold and unwelcoming. Although, more recently in the design and construction of hospitals, there has been a trend toward visual healing with the incorporation of natural light, outdoor gardens and better dining options. Studies have shown that modern facility accommodations and so-called extra amenities tend to evoke more confidence in the care that will be received and overall stronger patient satisfaction.

Architectural Design Provides Measurable Results

It’s not all just aesthetics though. McGill University, located near Montreal in Canada, renovated its facility to eliminate shared intensive care unit rooms. Most patients prefer the privacy of separate rooms and it also led to a decrease in the spread of bacterial infection by 50%.

Incorporating more windows into a building’s exterior can increase the construction and energy costs, as well as the maintenance requirements for the facility. Recovering patients, however, have proven to respond more positively—from reduced stress to higher pain tolerance—to views of the outside environment versus the sterile hospital walls. It is for this reason that hospitals have taken a more cost-effective approach and begun to integrate gardens or atriums filled with natural plants for patients and their families to access freely.

An acute psychiatric unit in the United States took steps to creating a more inviting lounge space by decorating the traditionally bland walls with realistic scenes of nature. Within a few weeks, there was a noticeable change in the behavior of the patients and a 70% decrease in as-needed injections. Less as-needed injections administered meant a savings of nearly $30,000 in drug costs. So while these extra amenities may require a larger upfront construction cost, the expenditure has been deemed beneficial to both patients and hospital personnel in the long-run.

Photo courtesy of www.healthcaredesignmagazine.com

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Bulletproof Glass History

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Three Kinds of Ballistic Barriers for Healthcare Facilities http://www.tssbulletproof.com/kinds-ballistic-barriers-healthcare-facilities/ Wed, 10 Aug 2016 16:24:16 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=15677 [...]

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The 2015 Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) note that “Healthcare and social service workers face a significant risk of job-related violence.” According to OSHA, about 10% of all workplace injuries are assaults—and roughly 75% of all workplace assaults are suffered by healthcare workers. One quarter of healthcare-related on-the-job deaths are the result of such assaults. Patient-inflicted injuries account for roughly 30% of the money hospitals spend each year on worker’s compensation lawsuits and injury-related sick days. All told, healthcare systems lose roughly $2 billion each year in workman’s comp claims, and spend an average of $75,000 to replace each nurse who gets fed up and quits. It’s a frightening and expensive problem for all involved.

Good Barriers Increase Hospital Safety

Fortunately, we know that effective security barrier systems can make a substantial dent in this violence. A 2008 study published in the Annals of Epidemiology found that increasing hospital security decreased assault rates by 48%. The Emergency Nurses Association’s 2011 Emergency Department Violence Surveillance Study also founded that “the presence of an enclosed nurses’ station” correlated to significant reductions in verbal assault against staff (basically halving such incidents).

Picture 054OSHA currently recommends that institutional hospitals consider bullet resistant barriers for reception areas and anywhere money changes hands with the public. Since 2002 NIOSH (the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a division of the Centers for Disease Control) has likewise recommended healthcare systems “install deep service counters or bullet-resistant and shatterproof glass enclosures in reception areas.” California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health issued similar guidelines as far back as 1998: “Bullet resistant glass should be used to provide protection for triage, admitting or other reception areas where employees may greet or interact with the public.” Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice has an entire section dedicated to “Preparing the Emergency Department to Prevent Violence.” Their key takeaway is that access control and strategic use of bullet resistant barriers can be extremely effective:

“Controlling flow through the ED [emergency department] can be an effective method of preventing violent acts. High risk departments should limit access to one or two entrances, especially during the evening hours. Bulletproof glass barriers and buzzer access systems are useful as well. … One large urban county hospital with a high incidence of violent behavior in the ED is equipped with a large security force, metal detectors, a bulletproof Plexiglas triage area, a keypad security entry, controlled entryway into the ED, and metal bars to prohibit cars from driving into the department. The hospital reports no incident of weapons-related violence or injury in the ED since these measures have been implemented.”

Helping Healthcare Facilities Craft Good Bullet Resistant Security

But not all bullet proofing companies are prepared to design and install ballistic barrier systems in healthcare facilities. As Total Security Solutions CEO Jim Richards explains, “This can be really tricky, because of the many use cases you can see in a single hospital or healthcare building. We’re especially sensitive to how a security barrier system has to be ‘barrier-free’, complying with ADA expectations, local fire codes, NFPA Life Safety Code, all of that—all while keeping doctors and nurses safe without hindering them in their work.”

In Jim’s experience hospitals have three security zones, each with different needs: The pharmacy, reception, and the security screening area.

  • Pharmacy Bullet Resistant Barriers: This is an often neglected portion of the hospital, despite the combined risk factors: The pharmacist handles cash, dispenses valuable narcotics, and is often located very close to an exit. Pharmacy barriers generally can be well served by a simple all-in-one transaction window and counter with integrated deal tray, but often also need a custom package passer or rotary susan, so that they can securely and easily dispense larger items.
  • Reception Area Bullet Resistant Barriers: Most reception areas will have a long counter with several triage stations. This can be well served by a single sheet of bullet resistant acrylic with voice ports. Such an approach allows for both clear communication and good sight lines. Simple deal trays are usually sufficient for passing paperwork, with perhaps a single secure drawer serving the entire counter. Don’t forget to reinforce the counter itself with bullet resistant fiberglass.
  • Security Screening Area Resistant Barriers: Many larger urban healthcare facilities are integrating small police outposts and formal security screening areas near their emergency departments. These areas are usually best served by configurations a bit more like an airport security checkpoint than a traditional retail or municipal security barrier. Electronically controlled bullet resistant doors with large ballistic windows are standard, as are transaction windows with integrated communication and package passers.

Ballistic Security for Cannabis Dispensaries and Pain Clinics

These stand-alone services are still finding their place in the healthcare industry—and often face unique economic, security, and regulatory challenges. Total Security Solutions is attuned to these unique challenges, and can offer simple, affordable bullet resistant systems to fit any space, configuration, and style of operation.

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New Safety Requirements for Glass Hand Railings http://www.tssbulletproof.com/safety-requirements-glass-hand-railings/ Wed, 03 Aug 2016 13:00:27 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=15546 [...]

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frameless glassThe use of glass has transformed the realm of possibilities in the architecture industry. The first glass skyscraper, though never actually built, was proposed by Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe in 1921 as an entry for the Berlin Friedrichstrasse Skyscraper competition. It was the first time that an architect envisioned a building as an “open frame wrapped in glass.” Glass provides transparency, allowing for unobstructed views of the outside environment and plenty of natural light. What was once a luxury to only the wealthy, glass has now become widely used in both exterior and interior architectural applications, including the famous all-glass stair treads of the Fifth Avenue Apple Store. Other over-the-top architectural glass installations include China’s new glass-bottom bridge and the giant glass high heel church built in Taiwan.

Spontaneous Glass Breakage Spurs Safety Reform

Unfortunately, a quick search of glass news reveals a growing trend of unexpected glass failure. A tiny flaw in the construction of the glass can sometimes cause spontaneous glass breakage like what happened at the new DeBruce Center at Kansas University. Such impurities, referred to as a nickel sulfide inclusion, make the glass more susceptible to pressure changes and movement. The summer of 2011 was marked with glass falling off several high rise buildings in both Canada and the USA. Panes of tempered glass from balconies shattered on two separate condo buildings in Toronto within the same week and rained down on the streets below.

It was a result of these instances that the Glazing Industry Code Committee (GICC) implemented revisions to the existing railing section of the 2015 International Building Code, which is widely used in the United States. Hand rail assemblies, guard rails or guard sections, installations where broken glass could fall on individuals below, must now use laminated glass. Previously, these types of glass railings were constructed with monolithic tempered glass.

While safety is of utmost importance to all involved, there has been some controversy over the switch to laminated glass due to increased cost and aesthetics. Frameless glass railings have become very popular in recent years, but edge quality is inconsistent and can be an issue when working with laminated glass due to the multiple layers. The revised safety requirements are relatively new so as the use of laminated glass increases for these type of installations, there is room to improve quality control and continue to innovate and push the limits of glass.

Photo courtesy of www.framelessglass.ca

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Physical Security Features that Protect Data Centers http://www.tssbulletproof.com/physical-security-features-protect-data-centers/ Wed, 27 Jul 2016 14:17:56 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=15010 [...]

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data center servers with lights onEvery day there are hundreds of data security breaches exposing millions of records of personal and corporate data to cybercriminals. No organization is immune from these attacks. Government agencies( the IRS and NSA) Healthcare giants (Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Anthem) and large corporations (Target and Home Depot) have all been successfully hacked in the past few years.

Last spring it was reported that the Office of Personnel Management (responsible for managing human resources for the federal government) suffered two separate security breaches that compromised the personal information of over 20 million people. These combined incidents are considered to be one of the biggest cyberattacks in history.

So what is being done to protect us from cyber criminals? IT professionals tend to focus on security features like cryptographic keys and digital certificates. But physical security features are equally important. The first line of defense in protecting software and data is concrete, steel and bulletproof glass.

Most commonly used physical security for data centers

Security features that protect the data center against physical intrusion and disaster can be divided into three categories:

External crime protection:

  • Chosen locations that are not easily seen from the street
  • Limited access to the building including gates and fences
  • Single point of entry
  • External video surveillance
  • Intrusion detection and alarm systems

Internal crime protection:

Natural or man-made disaster protection:

  • Redundant utilities (such as electric)
  • Air filtration systems
  • Temperature controls
  • Back up batteries to support HVAC and other essential systems
  • Earthquake-proof cabinets and server cages
  • Fire suppression

Single Privileged Users Will Always Pose a Risk

Physical security can keep strangers out, but what about employees, vendors and other visitors with permission to access the data center? While all of them are typically put through background checks, nothing is failsafe. People making questionable decisions will always pose a risk. Single privileged user accounts can be hacked by internal personnel with intent to do harm, and that can bring down an entire data center.

Next Steps:

Make or Break Project

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Peace-of-Mind for Rural Utility Offices http://www.tssbulletproof.com/peace-of-mind-rural-utility-offices/ Wed, 20 Jul 2016 13:27:10 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=15331 [...]

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For Clark Energy—a regional utility cooperative serving 19,000 customers and maintaining 3,000 miles of line in 11 counties—it began when a customer attacked a worker at the nearby water utility office. As Holly S. Eades, vice president of finance for Clark Energy, explains, “There was a utility here in Winchester [Kentucky], and I had gone down there because we’d heard that one of their office people, a customer had slapped her in the head. And we were like, ‘Oh, boy.’ Because we have some customers that come in, and they get kind of irate.”

Worker Safety in Utility Offices

Workplace violence is a serious problem, with roughly 2 million American workers assaulted each year. Clerks and customer service reps at utility offices are especially at risk, as their work includes several of the high-risk factors identified by OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration): handling money, fielding disputes about billing, and denying delinquent customers service. As a rule, when you are forced to cut off someone’s electricity, water, cable TV, or other service, they are not happy, and they are not calm.

To Holly and her customer service reps at Clark Energy, it very much felt like just a matter of time: “Sometimes, [in] both [our] offices, there’ll be just one office lady there. The men are out in the field, and she’s just completely by herself. It wasn’t probably two, three weeks later . . . some man comes in and he’s cussing and screaming, and another customer actually stayed, saying ‘There wasn’t a way I’m leaving with this person acting like that.’ When a big man is standing at the counter, screaming and cussing at a female customer service rep who’s five-foot-four, there’s something wrong with him . . . You just don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Inviting, Professional Bullet Proof Barriers

Utility Office Bullet Resistant Barrier

Utility Office Bullet Resistant Barrier

Utility Office Bullet Resistant Barrier

Many utility companies and service providers worry that added security will both bog down business and give the customers the impression that workers are trying to separate themselves from their clientele.

Even Clark Energy had hesitated, despite harrowing first-hand experiences. “A lot of it was the way it needed to look. . . . We’d actually tried to get somebody local [to install a bullet resistant barrier], but we couldn’t find anybody in this area that would even come close to the product that Total Security Solutions has. Not as pleasing. . . . I think a lot of times, when you put that up [a security barrier], customers get the feeling that you’re trying to shield yourself, and I don’t mean from robbers.”

Jim Richards, Total Security Solutions CEO, has heard this often. “What we actually do and what everyone’s perception is are two totally different things. The people at Clark Energy were more than ecstatic when they saw the other utility offices we’ve done, because it’s not what people typically visualize when they think of bullet proof glass. They think of steel frames, big, thick glass, you can’t talk through it. It’s not aesthetically pleasing. It gets in the way of getting work done. But when they saw what we did at the other utility, it’s like ‘Oh, well we want one of those, too, if that’s what it’s gonna look like.'”

Positive Results with a Well-Designed Bullet Proof System

“We are tickled to death,” Holly says, “It looks very nice, and when the customers came in . . . We had some customers saying, ‘You know, y’all should have done that a long time ago.'”

While Holly is gratified to hear these positive responses from customers, she’s even more pleased by the improvement to her employees’ work day:

“It’s really amazing, just the sense of security the girls feel. You know, now you get there and you’ve got somebody screaming at you, and there’s some distance between you and their emotions. When you’re turning people’s electric off, you just don’t know. You have ’em come in pretty upset. This felt 10 times better, at least knowing the girls are behind locked doors and behind bullet resistant glass. Because, I tell you, every day all you hear about is another incident somewhere.”

Clark Energy Utility Office Bullet Resistant Barrier

Clark Energy Utility Office

More on Enhanced Security for Utility Offices

For the whole story, download our free case study on the Clark Energy utility office now.

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Ideal Bullet Proof Barrier Systems for Utility Offices http://www.tssbulletproof.com/ideal-bullet-proof-barrier-systems-utility-offices/ Wed, 13 Jul 2016 11:37:28 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=15338 [...]

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Clark Energy Utility Office Bullet Resistant Barrier

Every day, between 5,500 and 7,600 Americans are victims of workplace violence. Among the workers most at-risk according to OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) are those who interact directly with the public, handle cash or other payments, have to resolve complaints and disputes arising from overdue utility bills, or carry out enforcement duties (like cutting off a delinquent customer). This is a pretty spot-on description of the average work day for clerks and cashiers at utility payment offices of all types: gas, water, phone, cable, power, city and county clerks, and so on.

Consider this infamous two-minute video of what happened when a woman in Detroit was upset about her son’s phone:

That’s one clerk who was very glad to have a bullet resistant barrier between him and a less-than-satisfied customer.

Bullet Resistant Barrier Systems for Utility Offices

According to Total Security Solutions CEO Jim Richards, the incident captured in that video is par for the course in many utility offices. The news report chose to play it for laughs—focusing on indecent exposure, and quickly sailing past the fact that the woman had a knife and gouged at the case and barrier. “Unfortunately,” Total Security Solutions CEO Jim Richards notes, “what we’ve learned is that these kinds of incidents are rarely very funny. Especially for the people behind the counter.” To being with, more often than not the clerks are women working to support their families, and the irate customers tower over them. As one utility office manager explained to Total Security Solutions, “When a big man is standing at the counter, screaming and cussing at a female customer service rep who’s five-foot-four, there’s something wrong with him…You just don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Over the past several decades, Total Security Solutions has worked with all sorts of utility and payment offices, designing, fabricating, and installing bullet resistant systems that mesh seamlessly both with their office aesthetic and their business needs.

“Typically,” Jim explains, “they need two or three transaction areas—similar to a small bank office—with deal trays for passing documents, and some reinforcement of the counters. All said, they generally don’t need much more than a Level 3 system. These can usually be installed overnight—so minimal disruption of business—and are well within the budget of any utility or service provider.”

Getting the Right Level of Protection for Your Utility Office

“The biggest challenge,” Jim notes, “is helping utility operators understand the level of protection they need.” Because of the sorts of extremely violent incidents that draw wide 24-hour news coverage, many a small payment and utility offices begin exploring bullet resistant systems with the assumption they need a barrier that will stop heavy assault weaponry.

As a result, they suffer tremendous sticker shock: Level 5 through 8 systems—designed to stop bursts from AK-47s, AR-15s, and other tactical rifles—are government-grade installs. The materials involved are very expensive and challenging to work with: Level 5 bullet proof glass is more than two inches thick, with each window weighing hundreds of pounds by itself. They require special framing pieces and reinforced walls and counters. It’s the sort of installation that protects the windows of the Oval Office.

And, in case it doesn’t go without saying, the local cable or water payment office doesn’t need that level of protection.

“Fortunately,” Jim explains, “most acts of violence don’t go further than what you see in that video: A really emotionally overwhelmed person yelling and damaging property. Maybe waving a weapon around. That said, if there’s an opportunity, it’s not at all uncommon for a person like this to get physical with an employee.” When a barrier is in place—as it was in the case of that Detroit cellphone office—the clerk has someplace to wait out the storm.

“We find that most utilities are very happy with a Level 3 system. In the unlikely event a disgruntled customer or employee comes in shooting, this will stop the most common calibers of bullets. In any case, it will offer excellent physical protection. More importantly, the barrier functions like psychological armor, shielding your staff from the emotional violence this individual is spewing.”

Next Steps:

Make or Break Project

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Safety Glass Zoo Enclosures Keep Animals In and Humans Out http://www.tssbulletproof.com/safety-glass-zoo-enclosures-animals-humans/ Thu, 07 Jul 2016 15:53:10 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=15523 [...]

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A recent incident at the Cincinnati Zoo has raised many questions about zoo safety. A young boy was able to gain access to the gorilla exhibit and was dragged around for several minutes before the gorilla was shot. The boy survived with minor injuries. Regardless of events that led up to the child falling into the exhibit or how the situation was handled, there has been a general concern over the fact that a young child was able to relatively easily enter an area of the zoo intended to be off limits to the public.

Concrete walls and steel bar enclosures were once the norm, but as the demand for more natural environments and views of the animals has increased, the means of ensuring security has evolved. The use of physical barriers, such as fences and moats, are very common zoo safety measures intended to keep the animals in and people out. In more recent years, however, zoos have also turned to the use of safety glass, similar to bulletproof glass, to provide visitors an uninterrupted view of the animals and an even higher level of security.

Bullet-Resistant Glass Provides Uninterrupted Views and Increased Security

zooThe unprecedented closeness achieved between humans and the animals through safety glass, as well as the success of security provided by safety glass, has been documented in multiple videos that have gone viral over the past several years. In this video from the Tokyo Zoo, a small boy turns his back on a lion exhibit and within seconds, the lion charges toward the boy, slamming into the safety glass enclosure. While shaken by the experience, the boy is unharmed and the glass is intact. Even in this video of a gorilla cracking the glass at the Nebraska Zoo, the visitors were in no immediate danger. Similar to the laminated glass used on the popular glass-bottom bridges, a single pane of glass can shatter while maintaining the structural integrity of the overall sheet of glass.

While zoos take necessary precautions to protect visitors, from the implementation of physical barriers to regularly performed safety drills, it is equally as important for parents to diligently watch their children and themselves around the animals. They are still wild animals with unpredictable behavior and should be respected as such.

Photo courtesy of www.youtube.com

NEXT STEPS:

Bulletproof Glass History

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Bullet Resistant Barriers for Texas Banks http://www.tssbulletproof.com/bullet-resistant-barriers-texas-banks/ Wed, 29 Jun 2016 16:26:08 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=15259 [...]

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Texas state flag flown at capital buildingLast year Houston didn’t just lead the nation in commercial robberies (with 1,400 in 2015); it also saw a huge jump in “armed takeovers,” a crime nearly unique to Houston. As described by the Houston Chronicle’s Dane Schiller, armed takeovers are “particularly violent and terrifying, just a sneeze or a flinch away from turning tragic. Attackers put guns to the back of the heads of store managers or other employees, with hammers cocked as motivation to obey commands.”

In addition to being uncharacteristically traumatic robberies, armed takeovers are also uncharacteristically swift (under two minutes), and uncharacteristically successful: One such bank robbery nabbed $76,000, while another took over a quarter million dollars. By comparison, the average bank bandit usually gets away with less than $5,000.

According to Total Security Solutions CEO Jim Richards, “We see these sorts of ‘evolutionary jumps’ in crimes in growth areas—the Carolinas, the Atlanta area, and especially Texas. Houston is very active for us right now.”

Everything is Bigger in Texas

What is happening in Houston? Are Texans, by nature, especially vicious?

Not at all.

It all comes down to population. The regions Jim named have some of the fastest growing populations in the United States. According to Forbes magazine, 5 of the 10 fastest growing U.S. cities are in Texas, with Houston being number one (up from second place in 2014).

“Typically,” Jim explains, “when you look at where the country is growing, the demand for bullet resistant barriers is growing as well. People spread out, businesses—especially financial services—pop up to serve them. Banks build more branch offices and put more in-store locations in place. It’s a simple fact of life: People commit crimes, so wherever people go, the crime goes with them.”

Texas has been no exception: In 2014, little Odessa, TX (population under 100,000) had the highest jump in violent crime in the nation. In 2015, even as violent crime rates across both the nation and Texas dropped, a Houstonian was murdered every 30 hours. According to the latest FBI statistics, 1,242 of 2015’s more than 4,000 bank robberies were in the “South” (as defined by the FBI, this region includes all the high-growth areas Jim named).

And most of those bank heists were in Texas. In a given year, Texas alone sees roughly as many bank branches, check cashers, and short-term loan businesses robbed as Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee combined. Year after year, Texas is second only to California in annual bank robberies. But, while California is continuing a steady decade-long decline in bank robberies, Texas appears to be ticking back up, with a 10% increase in bank robberies since 2014. If these trends continue, one could expect Texas to lead the nation in bank robberies by 2020.

Ballistic Barriers Deter Bank Robberies

TSS has found that, across the board, the presence of a bullet resistant barrier seems to deter attempted robberies. This matches sworn testimony from bank robbers, who specifically targeted banks without barriers. According to the Center for Investigative Reporting’s independent analysis of four years of FBI data, only about 10% of the banks targeted for robbery had bullet resistant barriers in place (meanwhile, every institution had Bank Protection Act mandated security systems, as well as security cameras). Of the barrier-enhanced banks that were robbed, only about three percent of those robberies turned violent. Compare this to banks with armed guards: 12.9% of the robberies in such banks turned violent, and injury rates soared among both staff and customers during those violent incidents.

According to award-winning investigative reporter Ronald Kessler, “FBI agents say that banks with Plexiglas or bulletproof glass barriers between tellers and customers are held up far less than are banks with open spaces between tellers and customers.” One FBI agent explained to Kessler: “The [banks] that have bandit barriers are robbed much less. It’s night and day. Every now and then you have someone who slaps a note against the plexiglass. Usually the teller crouches behind the counter, and that’s the end of it.”

This has likewise been Jim’s experience: “Not that the teller hides behind the counter—I’ve never heard of that—but it certainly seems like potential thieves imagine that sort of scenario: Even when a location has suffered multiple robberies, once that bandit barrier is in place, there is not a recurrence. Robbed of the ability to use brute violence, bank robbers just are not that bold.”

NEXT STEPS:

Make or Break Project

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