In August of 2022, the National Glass Association (NGA) announced the publication of a new international standard addressing school safety in the midst of rising instances of school shootings. The NGA School Security Task Group was formed in November 2021, and in less than a year, ASTM F356122: Standard Test Method for Forced-Entry-Resistance of Fenestration Systems After Simulated Active Shooter Attack was published. We believe that this new standard will gain traction with designers and school districts in the coming year.
In recent decades, glass has become a preferred building material for schools and educational facilities, and for good reason. It brings in natural daylight, which multiple studies have shown to help boost a child’s mood, concentration and engages cognitive performance – all of which lead to better learning. However, glazing has become a “weak” point when it comes to active shooting scenarios. While bullet resistant or attack resistant glazing do exist, having an international standard developed specifically for active shootings help establish a level of safety that schools can implement. For glazing manufacturers like us, it helps us design products that are expected to perform their specific function when the time comes.
ASTM F356122 is designed to simulate a shooter trying to breach the entrance by shooting projectiles on the glass with the intention of weakening it. The test includes 10 shots from a single weapon and ammo type that is fired onto the glazing in a tight burst. The test also includes impacts after the initial weakening. This is done with a 100-pound impacter at center mass. There are eight different drop heights with the impacter at the same weight.
As a long-time member of the NGA, it is great to see our industry come together to help minimize the injuries or fatalities from these devastating events. The glass products that meet the new active shooter standard can become the first line of defense, buying precious time for law enforcement and other first responders to arrive on the scene. With today’s advanced technology, these glass products can perform multiple functions as well, including thermal, fire rated, decorative, privacy, and so much more.
At SAFTI FIRST, we are excited to provide USA-made glazing products that meet the new ASTM F356122 standard. It is a step in the right direction for us, as we have always been passionate about glazing safety – especially to school children. Back in the 1980s, we started a campaign to educate the public about the dangers of traditional wired glass, which was for decades the only available fire rated glass available. The embedded wires gave the illusion that it was strong enough to survive an impact, but in reality, the embedded wires made it weaker. When it breaks, it traps the limbs of those unfortunate enough to impact it, causing further injuries. Because traditional wired glass was prevalent in elementary schools, majority of the injuries happened to school children. Finally, our efforts paid off and in 2004, the IBC banned the use of traditional wired glass in doors, sidelites and other hazardous locations.
In addition to raising awareness about glazing safety, we are also passionate about developing innovative, USA-made and readily available glazing products at an economical price. One recent example is our patent-pending SuperClear 45-HS (hose stream) and SuperClear 45-HS-LI (hose stream, low-iron) products. These revolutionary glass products are clear, wire-free, tint-free and extremely durable. Unlike ceramics that need to be filmed or laminated to meet the CPSC safety glazing standard, SuperClear 45-HS and SuperClear 45-HS-LI not only meets the CPSC standard without films or laminates, but it is more likely to survive the impact. This gives schools and other facilities the added benefit of reduced costs over time due to breakage. Watch this short video to see how SuperClear 45-HS-LI compares to filmed and laminated ceramic in the same CPSC safety glazing impact test: https://vimeo.com/561089455
Beyond schools and educational facilities, we are also excited to bring new glazing innovations with our recent acquisition of a state-of-the-art Pujol 100+ complete laminating line. We have one oven for standard lamination processes and one oven for bomb blast and detention products. This impressive piece of machinery will be housed in our state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Merced, CA. With the Pujol line up and running, we’ll be able to supply advanced security glazing products as well as other laminated glass products with the same high quality that the architectural and building has come to expect with our comprehensive line of USA-made fire rated glazing, framing, entrances and floors.