Bullet Proof Glass and Bullet Resistant Barriers | TSS Bulletproof http://www.tssbulletproof.com Tue, 27 Sep 2016 15:28:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Breathtaking Glass Skywalks http://www.tssbulletproof.com/breathtaking-glass-skywalks/ Wed, 21 Sep 2016 12:18:42 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=15311 [...]

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150518102215-zhangjiajie-glass-bridge-04-super-169The last two years have been marked by a rapid growth in the construction of death-defying glass skywalks, with more than five built in China alone. With each new glass-bottom exhibit comes a challenge to build it higher, longer and more terrifying. Completed in September 2015, the Haohan Qiao or “Brave Man’s Bridge” is suspended 590-feet—that’s about the height of a five-story building or 1-1/2 lengths of a football field–above the Shiniuzhai National Geological Park and connects two cliffs 984 feet apart.. In China’s Wulong National Geographic Park, a 36’ x 85’ viewing deck was completed in October 2015. It cantilevers 820 feet above Karst Valley, providing visitors with unmatched views of the already popular scenic site.

While Zhangjiajie National Forest Park already offers one glass-bottom exhibit with its “Walk of Faith,” a nearly 200-foot section of the cliff-hanging walkway that scales the side of Tianmen Mountain more than 4600 feet in the air, a second vertigo-inducing attraction is set to open in this same region. When this quarter mile long glass skywalk over the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon opens in July 2016, it will earn China the record for both longest and highest glass-bottom bridge.

China also holds the title for longest cantilevered walkway with its horseshoe-shaped glass skywalk in Chongqing. It extends 87.5 feet from the cliff edge, more than 16 feet longer than the Grand Canyon Skywalk, and hovers 2,350 feet above a valley.

Strength and Durability of Laminated Glass

While each venue takes a slightly different approach to the increasingly popular glass walkway, there is one structural similarity –- laminated glass. Because glass can be damaged and fail instantaneously, each layer of glass is actually designed to support the necessary load. So, while it might not entirely ease your mind to know that glass can fail – and quite often does – take some comfort in knowing that these glass walkways have been over-engineered to account for such shortcomings and keep you safe.

Recently, BBC Click’s Dan Simmons was invited to the new Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon glass skywalk to test the strength and durability of the glass panels when struck with a sledgehammer. While this may not entirely ease your fears, the laminated glass sustained a dozen hits without failing. As with other glass-bottom exhibits, the top layer of glass was quick to shatter, but the lower two glass panels remained intact.

Photo courtesy of www.cnn.com

NEXT STEPS:

Make or Break Project

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Critical Infrastructure Protection: U.S. Data Centers and Ballistic Barriers http://www.tssbulletproof.com/critical-infrastructure-protection-u-s-data-centers-ballistic-barriers/ Wed, 14 Sep 2016 19:16:24 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=15806 [...]

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close up of server in server roomAs Total Security Solutions CEO Jim Richards recently noted, “data is where the value is,” making data centers an attractive target for a wide variety of bad actors—from teams of criminal hackers to the Kremlin and other foreign agencies. Even seemingly non-critical services—like Twitter—have become vital resources during disasters and emergencies.

As off-site data storage and cloud computing become a daily necessity in every facet of our lives, a single data center may store information and house services for a wide range of public and private entities. Data centers are the place where private business continuity and disaster recovery planning (BCP) and public continuity of operations planning (COOP) tend to come together in assuring the stability of U.S. infrastructure when disaster strikes. And, for that reason, security professionals and physical security specialists—not to mention homeland security planners and public safety professionals—are taking the physical security of data centers increasingly seriously.

But even as many best-practices checklists (like this one for SAS 70 Compliance) are beginning to take bullet resistant security into account, there are still many misconceptions about how to best address the physical security needs of data centers.

Two Traditional Categories of Bullet Resistant Barrier Systems

For the most part, bullet resistant barrier systems fall into two broad categories: Retail and Reception.

The classic Retail System would be a bank: Staff are on one side, customers on the other, and while it is rare for anyone to need to pass through the barrier, they do need to communicate clearly and pass small items easily and securely. These systems are seen in a wide variety of settings: 24/7 convenience stores, high-risk gas stations, pharmacies, municipal utility payment offices, and so on.

Reception Systems were once relatively rare, but are now increasingly common (especially in the urban core). A classic example might be a school’s secure vestibule entryway. Here there is a small reception area entirely open to the public and separated from the building by secured bullet resistant doors. A secure receptionist can vet identification before permitting visitors through. Like Retail systems, these Reception systems also have large bullet resistant windows and communication systems, but the windows tend to be smaller and simpler, where-as the bullet proof doors and access control systems are more developed. Other examples of Reception systems include police stations, hospitalscourthouses, some jewelry stores, and corporate offices.

Both types of systems presume a lot of foot traffic (usually because the building itself is located in a densely populated or high-traffic area), a heavy reliance on face-to-face communication between staff and visitors, and the need to only secure a few critical “bottlenecks”—usually entryways, or a small publicly accessible space.

Data Centers Have Different Security Profiles

As Jim Richards has found over the last several years, data centers make for a very different security scenario: “First off, we see these centers going into areas that that are more remote—Iowa, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona. They’re favoring places which are the most stable, geologically and in terms of weather. In contrast to a bank or federal building, these centers don’t need to be near population centers, and just don’t have that many unexpected visitors. So the [ballistic] systems they need are quite different, because the focus isn’t about making it easy for people to do business face-to-face while protecting them.”

Additionally, there is no bottleneck to secure. Data centers need to isolate many individual spaces and server rooms throughout the building—something more akin to fire protection strategies than traditional bullet resistant security measures. When people think “bullet proof,” they almost always think of “bullet proof glass” (even though it’s technically “bullet resistant thermoplastic“). But there just isn’t much glass in a data center. As Jim notes:

“Most traditional bullet resistant barriers are focused on ballistic windows, transaction areas, deal trays, and passers. In a data center, we don’t need that. They want to secure walls and doors, with a good access control system tying it all together. That means lots of fiberglass for the walls, lots of doors, and maybe an entryway.”

Data Centers Focus on Access Control

In contrast to many companies—especially smaller local outfits—TSS has a great deal of expeSteel Doorrience partnering with their client’s preferred access control vendors. Every TSS door is custom built, and can be engineered to easily accept any control devices, wire runs, and strikes your access system demands. Since data center installations tend to be extensive but straightforward (installing fiberglass paneling in the walls is not that different from drywalling), many centers opt to use local contractors or in-house facilities staff. TSS offers ample support to vendors and other trades, security professionals, and in-house staff, guiding them through a smooth installation process.

Next Steps:

Make or Break Project

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Today’s Police Body Armor: Overt, Lighter, Smaller. http://www.tssbulletproof.com/todays-police-body-armor-overt-lighter-smaller/ Wed, 07 Sep 2016 12:49:49 +0000 http://www.tssbulletproof.com/?p=15536 [...]

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Police_officer_in_riot_gearAs domestic threats continue to increase, so does the need for better protection for law enforcement officers (LEOS). While many advances have been made since the first bullet-resistant vests were developed, it should be noted that the vests worn by most patrol officers or regular duty officers do not stop every type of bullet, nor is any vest entirely bulletproof.

What is Body Armor?

Bullet-resistant vests, also know as ballistic vests or body armor, (body armor can also be used to describe helmets, leg and arm protection) are the reason many people are alive today. According to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in a 2013 report:

“During the past three decades, ballistic-resistant soft body armor has saved the lives of more than 3,000 police officers.”

There are two basic categories for body armor: hard and soft. Soft (such as that made from DuPont™ Kevlar® fiber) is worn by most officers and stops most handgun bullets. Hard body armor provides protection from faster-moving ammo such as rifle rounds.

Today, most regular duty officers wear vests that consist of a carrier (the fabric part) with pockets that contain bullet-resistant, removable panels.  Threat Level IIIA vests typically weigh between 5-6 pounds.

The Evolution of Body Armor

Early vests date back to the 1500s in Italy. They were very heavy and made from several layers of metal. The Japanese improved on this design in the 1800s by making fairly effective vests out of silk. Then came WWII’s bulky, heavy, flak jacket. Ballistic protection technology made a huge leap forward in the 1960’s-70’s with the introduction of Kevlar® by DuPont. Kevlar® was a game changer because it was deemed truly bullet resistant.

Today’s Kevlar®XP technology for soft body armor features a patented technology that allows vests to weigh at least 10% less than those made with other commercially available technologies while still containing Kevlar®. 

Types of Protection for Different Law Enforcement Roles

Because they face different kinds of threats, LEOs are issued vests that fit their roles.

For the most part, police officers on patrol wear ballistic-resistant protection, while correctional officers (such as those that work in a state prison) wear stab-resistant armor for protection against broken glass, needles, and knives. Since patrol officers favor the ballistic protection, they are  still vulnerable to what is known as ‘spike threats” (being stabbed with objects like those mentioned above. While ‘combination’ vests exists, most LEOs wear one type of vest or the other. 

And while most vests don’t yet offer protection from CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear) threats, such technologies are being researched for future upgrades.

Levels of Protection for Body Armor

Just like bullet resistant glass, ballistic body armor is rated for levels of protection:

  • Most Commonly Used Levels: II, IIIa and IV.
  • Levels II and IIIa protect against common firearms (9mm/ .44 Magnum)
  • Level IV is generally worn for higher level of protection (long guns)

SWAT and emergency response teams typically wear Level IV, whereas regular patrol likely utilize Level II or IIIa.

While vests can be worn covertly (under uniforms and plain clothes) an increasing number of officers choose to wearly them overtly – or over their uniforms. Some feel that wearing it this way acts as a deterrent. However, the overtly-worn vests are generally heavier and bulkier.

No matter what type of vest is chosen, it is necessary to get a proper fit in order for the vest to function as intended.

Body Armor Performance Depends on Proper Maintenance

The best way to keep body armor fully functional is to take care of it by following the manufacturer’s guidelines.  

A few basics:

  • Many fabric carriers can be machine washed, inspect the manufacturer’s label first
  • Body armor fabric should never be dried in direct sunlight (UV damage can compromise the fabric)
  • The removable panels are sponge clean only – never submerge in water
  • If your vest sees regular use, it needs to be replaced in five years

For a more detailed look at how to perform regular maintenance on a ballistic vest, here’s a great article from PoliceOne.

Federal Funding for Ballistic Vests

In 1999, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program (BVP), a U.S. Department of Justice initiative, began funding ballistic vests for law enforcement agencies around the country. Since its inception, the BVP has issued nearly a million vests (1,235,593 as of January, 2016) to 13,000 agencies via $412MM in federal funds. Agencies receiving funds are required to have a written, mandatory-wear policy for their officers.

Congress has reauthorized the program four times since it began, however, the program’s charter expired in September 2012.  The Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Re-authorization Act of 2015 was passed in May of 2016, extending the program into fiscal year 2020. It continues to be a critical resource for state and local law enforcement agencies.

Next Steps:

Police Checklist

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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:

TSS_Checklist_2016_CTA_BlgTlr_Healthcare_Security_FIN

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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

NEXT STEPS:

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.

TSS_Checklist_2016_CTA_BlgTlr_Healthcare_Security_FIN

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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

Next Steps:

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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

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