“No one really wants to think about needing a bullet resistant door in a school,” Eric Malzahn sighs. Eric is a project manger with Total Security Solutions, and often finds himself talking to architects who go pale at the mention of bullet proof school security–even when their clients are the ones raising the issue. It’s entirely natural to be uncomfortable having the words “bullet” and “school” in the same sentence.
But we all know how important it is to put safety before squeamishness. Bulletproof glass is an excellent deterrent. It doesn’t just keep staff and students safe during an active shooter incident; it also prevents such an incident from ever happening.
Bulletproof Security Through Deterrence
It’s important that both architects and school staff keep in mind that the presence of a bullet resistant barrier system decreases the likelihood of shots ever being fired. FBI statistics show that only about 15 percent of armed bank robberies target an institution with bullet proof glass barriers. By contrast, almost every single bank robbed in the United States has fully functional alarm systems and security cameras. Cameras and alarms are not an effective deterrent.
Total Security Solutions vice president Jim Richards often points out that it is exceedingly rare for him to replace a piece of bullet resistant glass because it’s been shot: Fewer incidents occur in facilities with visible ballistic barriers, and when attacks do occur the perpetrator is much less likely to open fire. That bulletproof window isn’t just a ballistic barrier–it is a potent psychological barrier.
As the threat landscape has evolved, so have procedures among law enforcement and first-responders. In most areas, if an active shooter can be slowed by just 20 seconds, law enforcement will have the time they need to lock down the scene and neutralize the threat. A UL-rated ballistic door gives the school’s staff precious seconds to put their procedures in motion and alert the police. Those 20 seconds can be the difference between a heart-stopping close call and a terrible tragedy.
Schools Are Ready for Bulletproof Security
Jim Richards notes that “[Ballistic security] is part of a bigger package of policies and procedures, and how schools handle emergencies. Provided that a school is properly staffed and trained, then all they really need is a way to make sure that all visitors are channeled through a single point of entry.”
Schools already check credentials of visitors before giving them access to the building. The procedure is solid. Adding a layer of bullet resistant security–ballistically reinforced doors and windows, plus a transaction window to protect the receptionist–transforms existing school security into daunting bulletproof security.
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