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Schools Seek out New Information to Improve Building Security



Eastman reports growing interest in
protective glazing from architects and school boards

Kingsport, Tenn., December 4, 2013 - With school violence frequently in the news, people are wondering how safe children and faculty really are. Since last December`s tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, schools, parents and architects have stepped up efforts to provide a more secure school environment. Many architects and school boards are now considering products from Eastman Chemical Company, one of the world`s largest manufacturers of protective interlayers and films for security glass.

"We`ve seen a definite uptick in calls concerning glazing in schools," says Julie Schimmelpenningh, applications manager for Eastman`s architectural films. "People want to understand what the options are to protect building occupants from intrusion through vulnerable windows and doors.  Fortunately, there are some good glazing choices available that can help protect students and faculty, while maintaining the natural light in buildings that is so important to a positive learning experience."  

Since windows and doors are the easiest points of entry, installing security-rated laminated glass should serve to make forced entry more difficult to penetrate. Unlike annealed or tempered glass, laminated glass stands up to multiple assaults from a blunt or sharp object. It would take several blows before an intruder could break through the security glass, if at all. This delay allows valuable time for anyone inside the school to call the police, sound an alarm, lockdown classrooms, or move students to a safe area.

"Laminated glass is a great solution for school security because it can buy time needed to react to an intruder," says Dennis R. Kelly, Executive Vice President of Graham Architectural Products in York, PA. Kelly points out schools in New York City and Washington, D.C. require laminated glass for all windows - primarily for breakage - but security comes with it. "Whether in windows, doors or side lites, laminated glass inhibits access into the building."

Laminated glass is fabricated with a tough, protective, flexible polymer interlayer that is bonded between two pieces of glass. Upon impact, laminated glass will shatter but glass shards remain held together by the bonded interlayer, minimizing risks associated with flying or falling glass. Laminated glass is available in a variety of thicknesses- the thicker the interlayer, the more resistance to impacts.

If a decision is made to use laminated glass, threat levels should be considered.

  • At a minimum, install laminated glass in first floor glass doors and windows where entry is most likely. Laminated glass that meets ASTM E2395- Security Performance of Window and Door Assemblies with and without Glazing Impact is a good choice for offering an effective level of forced entry / burglary resistance capability.   

  • Since entry doors have been the most vulnerable in many school shootings, consideration should be given to higher performing laminated glass systems such as hurricane-rated laminated glass. Door systems using hurricane-rated glazing offers higher levels of security protection against forced entry / burglary resistance by utilizing thicker polymer interlayers.   

  • If bullet resistant glazing is specified, existing doors should be replaced completely as the framing system for such heavy configurations is specialized. 

While there is a need for building safer schools, there may be funding and time constraints. When new buildings are not possible, the architectural community must look at other options to modernize, update and safeguard existing schools. Laminated glass remains one of the easiest and most cost-effective measures available for enhancing student and faculty safety and security especially when designing new schools or upgrading glass in current schools.

However, where school budgets will not allow for replacement of windows with laminated glass, Eastman security film may be a viable alternative. Security film can be post-applied over existing windows and doors easily and economically. While security film offers some of the benefits of laminated glass, it provides less resistance against forced entry.

For additional information, visit www.keepsafe.com.

Eastman is a global specialty chemical company that produces a broad range of products found in items people use every day. With a portfolio of specialty businesses, Eastman works with customers to deliver innovative products and solutions while maintaining a commitment to safety and sustainability. Its market-driven approaches take advantage of world-class technology platforms and leading positions in attractive end-markets such as transportation, building and construction, and consumables. Eastman focuses on creating consistent, superior value for all stakeholders. As a globally diverse company, Eastman serves customers in approximately 100 countries and had 2012 pro forma combined revenues, giving effect to the Solutia acquisition, of approximately $9.1 billion. The company is headquartered in Kingsport, Tennessee, USA and employs approximately 14,000 people around the world. For more info, visit www.eastman.com.

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Source: Eastman Chemical Company via GlobeNewswire