Is Window Film Effective? How Some Hospitals Are Increasing Security
Recently, I saw an article about different facilities utilizing window film as a way to add to their safety and security. I did some more research and found this article by Jeffery Plummer. He discusses in depth, how a Houston, TX hospital installed window film, their reasoning behind it, and its benefits.
Today I am going to review this article and pose some questions that came to my mind when researching this new, cost effective safety feature.
The article starts out explaining the needs that the hospital faced, they wanted greater security and peace of mind. Since this hospital is near the gulf coast, a lot of their safety concerns lie in hurricane season, when strong storms are likely in their area. The article explains that many times, Baylor St. Luke Medical Center in Houston has had to evacuate and relocate many patients due to adverse weather.
The hospital secured a grant from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and, “launched an initiative to secure the hospital’s vast amount of glass windows and doors.” After installing 65,000 square feet of film, the hospital staff, “no longer have to plan for the contingency of moving patients around, and the medical equipment is more secure.” This is where I raised my first question and it was simply this, “Are they sure?” Are they so sure that window film takes all their worries away about moving patients?
Further in the article it describes how window film is especially successful at keeping shards of glass stuck together, which eases the worry of flying glass during a hurricane. Mr. Plummer also explains how window film, “offers a measure of protection by holding broken glass shards in place making entry through a glass window or door difficult for would-be vandals.” This seems accurate, but then I asked myself, “Does it keep the glass attached to the frame? Preventing it from being removed completely?” I would think that it would increase the time for a vandal to break in, but that it would not be completely preventable.
As I neared the end, Mr. Plummer answered some of my questions with his statements, “As with any safety measure, there are limitations to what the product can do.” He continued to say, “With repeated impacts they will eventually allow access, as do many anti-intrusion products.” This leaves me with not being completely sold on the fact that window film can take away a hospitals worries about moving patients during adverse weather and high winds.
I agree that window film aids in the decrease of intruders through breaking glass to gain access, and I also agree that it adds benefits, like the article states of increasing energy efficiency, UV protection, and enhancing comfort. I do not, however agree that it is a product that can stand alone and add enough security that patient evacuation is taken out of emergency plans. As with security in any building, hospitals must maintain a rigid and diverse safety and security plan that relies on multiple layers to be the most effective in accomplishing their safety goals.