Window Film Industry Shifts Over Year Since Sandy Hook Shootings

December 11th, 2013 | Category: Featured Content, Industry News

Group of College Girls Going to SchoolAs the one-year anniversary of the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., approaches, window film companies say the devastating event has impacted the industry. According to several experts, the types of requests for glazing and window film attachments have changed since the tragedy.

“We’ve seen a definite uptick in calls concerning glazing in schools,” says Julie Schimmelpenningh, applications manager for Eastman Chemical Co.’s architectural films. “People want to understand what the options are to protect building occupants from intrusion through vulnerable doors and windows. 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.”

Officials from Eastman add that, for schools that find laminated glass retrofits too costly, security window films are a much more viable solution.

News about schools adding security film upgrades has been consistent throughout the year as well. According to a report out of Greenwich, Conn., by the Greenwich Times, the town’s school district recently approved $275,000 in improvements to the school, which includes window film. The report states that the initiative behind the funding was started as a result of Sandy Hook.

Several schools have held ballistics testing during the year to determine the most efficient form of security glazing for their buildings. The Shelton Herald in Shelton, Conn., reports that the local school board currently is seeking funding for security film installations following a series of tests.

Earlier in the year, Lacey Grooms, sales and operations manager for Solar Reflections of Charleston in Charleston, S.C., told Window Film magazine about her company’s experience with testing for a South Carolina school district. The testing was completed with the help of the Charleston County police department and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams.

“We worked with multiple school districts as well as the Charleston County police department and their SWAT teams. The goal is to either find a way to slow down the entry of intruders … or to find a way to scare them off,” she says. “The glass that is currently on the school windows per code is ¼-inch tempered glass … These school districts know they need to do something.”

Based on budgeting, Grooms says window film is the most cost-effective option for schools.

“School districts are not going to have the money to replace all of these windows with bullet-resistant, ballistic glass. They’d also have to replace the window structures and that’s a tremendous cost they won’t be able to handle. They are open to looking into safety/security window film options that will cost a lot less but are more realistic within their budget. The window film option being added to the tempered glass is, cost-wise, their best option.”

Glenn Yocca, president of U.S. Film Crew in Pittsburgh, also told Window Film magazine this year that he has seen an increase in the request for security films in schools.

“We’re dealing with a lot of different schools in light of the tragedy at Sandy Hook; they’re all looking at it from a security standpoint so we’re looking at vulnerable areas and helping to secure those,” he says.

Has your company noticed an increase in the request for security film services over the past year? Share your comments below or email the editor at cneeley@glass.com.

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