Due to the increase in school shooting tragedies, the issue of school safety continues to be a priority for educational administrators. We have received several inquiries about using bulletproof glass for school doors and windows, and for advice on the most cost-effective way to secure educational facilities.
Given the cost and complexity of installing bulletproof materials, replacing every school door or window is not a viable option for most schools. Securing every door and window with bullet-resistant material would cost a million dollars or more for each school.
The most cost-effective and sensible solution for most schools is to secure the main entryway by installing a bullet-resistant barrier that complements the other security measures being taken at the school.
Total Security Solutions has made it a priority to educate people who are looking to retrofit their school entryways and help them avoid the complications that inevitably arise when a less-experienced company installs ballistic glass without understanding the impact these modifications have on existing structures.
5 Tips for securing school entryways with bulletproof glass and bullet resistant barriers
Measure the existing space for proper fit and protection
If you’ve decided that adding bullet-resistant barriers to your school is the right decision for the safety and protection of your students and faculty, it is important to have your security barrier consultant guide you in taking all necessary measurements. Because no two schools are built the same way and there is no one size fits all solution, they will be able to use their expertise to make all appropriate measurements and make recommendations on how to proceed with the install. Some school’s entrances can be quickly retrofitted with bullet-resistant transaction windows and doors, while others require more complicated custom barriers. Take pictures of the space you’d like to secure to help your consultant make appropriate recommendations for your school environment.
Make sure the existing environment is conducive to a new bulletproof barrier or system
Many schools and higher education facilities are housed in older buildings, which means their structural supports may not be equipped to handle the additional weight of bulletproof glass and bullet-resistant barriers. Neglecting to update or modify your existing supports could result in installation issues like sagging or bowing supports. If you work with a company that assumes it’s a quick swap and replace installation, you’re destined to have future headaches that are not only inconvenient for you but also compromise the safety of the people who enter your schools each day.
Select materials appropriate to the threat level in a school environment
Most schools and educational facilities will benefit most from installing a barrier designed to provide Level 3 bullet resistance, which provides protection from most handguns. Resistance levels above Level 3 are typically cost-prohibitive for schools, and are more appropriate for government and military uses.
This chart illustrates the levels of resistance available, and the protection offered by each:
Consult an experienced architect for complex challenges
Because open floor plans are utilized in many modern schools, you may need to make extensive structural & design changes to accommodate a bullet-resistant security barrier in your school entryway. Consider consulting an architect who can help you draw up plans in consultation with a security expert like Total Security Solutions to design an aesthetically pleasing and structurally sound bulletproof barrier.
Additional design and installation considerations for bulletproof glass and barriers
When thinking about adding security barriers to schools, the new systems should be designed to blend in with the existing school environment. Custom barriers designed to match the existing decor will help minimize stress by maintaining the welcoming entryway experience your school needs to project to visitors, students, and staff. Selecting the proper bullet-resistant counters, doors, windows, and communication systems will help ensure security without alarming your school community with an entryway that feels like you’re entering an airport or prison.
We also recommend installing your bulletproof barrier and other security measures over a weekend or school vacation to minimize any unnecessary disruption of the learning process.
Next Steps for Improving Your School’s Security
- Learn to perform an assessment of your school’s security and develop a sensible plan
- Download our 5-Point School Security Checklist
Total Security Solutions is dedicated to being your trusted partner as you investigate options for improving the safety and security of your school. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call us at (800) 513-1468.