The Bottom Line May/June 2021August 17th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs
Tips for Selling Safety Film to Schools
By Steve DeBusk
Every time a troubling school event appears in the news, it’s a reminder that safety improvements and disaster prevention need to be top priority. Such events hit school administrators especially hard. It’s their job to find effective, affordable solutions that help keep everyone safe.
As a window film expert, it’s your job to guide these unique customers by addressing their major concerns, assuring their expectations are realistic, and helping them make the right choice for their budget. Tiffiny Gravely, principal and safety team member at Basset High School in Henry County, Va., reveals what’s on administrators’ minds: “Our faculty and staff feel safer. The extra protective film not only gives us more time to get our protocols into place, but it also provides more time for law enforcement and other agencies to get to our school.”
It’s impossible to miss that she’s talking about a dangerous intruder attempting forced entry here, and it’s true that this scenario is a consideration for schools in search of security upgrades. It’s also clear that safety and security film is real, meaningful reassurance.
It helps prevent shattered glass injuries, helps slow down intruders, and helps keep glass and windows in place against storms or blasts. When you choose a dual-purpose film with added solar control, you also get the benefit of enhanced indoor comfort and fade protection. And when that dual-purpose film is reflective, it also shields building occupants from an intruder’s view.
Covering the Basics
To start your conversation, it helps to generally explain thickness levels and applications. For worries about shattered glass for situations where broken glass may pose a safety hazard, a 4 or 7 mil film is appropriate. For forced entry, a 7-8 mil film is effective, and this also happens to be the most commonly chosen thicknesses for schools, but a 13+ mil film will offer even more protection. Windstorm or blast protection calls for 7-8 mil thickness at minimum. For maximum protection from forced entry, blasts and windstorms it’s important to have a film attachment system, such as a ¾-1-inch wide bead of structural silicone applied to both the film and frame. This helps hold broken glass within the window frame.
It’s also critical to dispel a common misconception: that it can make existing windows bullet-resistant. Film is not designed to stop or even resist bullets. Film does add seconds to the time it takes for an intruder to break and enter, though, and could even discourage breaking and entering altogether.
You’ll also be discussing cost, whether there is a safety improvement grant available or not. Be prepared to provide numbers for film installation, an attachment system and window replacement, since film is significantly easier to fit into a budget. Plan to discuss which areas are most critical to protect as well—such as entries and common areas.
And last, be prepared to listen with compassion. Working with school administrators requires more sensitivity, due to what’s at risk. However, it can also be truly rewarding, because a safety and security film upgrade has the power to make such a difference.
Steve DeBusk is technical enablement manager for Eastman Performance Films.
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