This infographic was created by U.S. Bullet Proofing, a provider of bulletproof glass
Whether it’s a residence, office building or a school, there are security concerns that must be addressed. However, every situation is different and calls for personalized solutions. Addressing such individual security concerns should be coordinated with building and maintenance personnel, as well as emergency responders.
Taking on these important protection elements begins with proper identification. Here is a look at how you can pinpoint and strengthen necessary building features to ensure the property and the people inside are safe.
Starting From the Ground Up
Protection begins with the building’s planning and construction. Nowadays, engineers, architects and security experts carry the weighty responsibility for incorporating fortification into the design at the onset. From strategically placed entryways and emergency exits to the location of surveillance zones and panic rooms, the infrastructure must be methodically planned.
For long-established structures, there will always be areas of improvement. Today’s best practices can be applied, and improvement measures can be determined. Certain areas can be evaluated through a building assessment to ascertain hazards, vulnerabilities and potential impacts in a worst-case scenario.
Entrances are vital points to consider, as access control is the topmost building security measure. Certain buildings that demand definitive security measures often have entry points that allow clear sightlines to the outside. Going a step further, these entries typically have two sets of doors with full-perimeter lockdown capabilities.
Access control in an outdated structure can be enhanced by defining a single access point. When other entries are locked and resistant to penetration, this specific, singular doorway can limit admission and, in the case of infectious disease, exposure.
Doors require strength to protect against forced entry — no matter the means. Having blast, ballistic or storm impact resistance is optimal. What’s more, they need to incorporate sophisticated locking mechanisms far beyond the protection offered via deadbolts.
Windows also necessitate resistance to forced entry, blasts, ballistics and storm damage. Ordinary glass just won’t cut it. Consider installing shatter-resistant windows for enhanced fortification. Modern, sturdy constructions can shield against explosions, deflect projectiles and impede heavy winds from damaging the interior.
For buildings with lower-level windows, the windows should be operable and lockable from the inside. Having an operable window may seem a risk, but the benefits of escape in the event of fire or emergency outweigh the threat.
Another area of protection is the building walls themselves. Installing bullet-resistant wall paneling is advised to help stop bullets in the event of gunfire — accidental or otherwise. These panels can be made from steel or fiberglass, and they work to create a more secure environment for the people inside.
Fire Safety Measures
To be up to code, buildings need to have passive fire protection (PFP) integrated throughout. From smoke detectors to a robust fire suppression system, the need for fire prevention and defense is crucial in order to secure the property and the people inside. One of the most important elements of PFP is a firewall.
Firewalls feature flame-retardant materials designed to confine a blaze and keep it contained. They are typically made of concrete, reinforced concrete or concrete blocks and are designed to resist fracturing and fragmentation caused by a fire. These walls are usually non-load bearing, meaning they are responsible for only their own weight, and they usually include control or expansion joints to help stop buckling.
Another important aspect of fire safety is that all openings should be equipped with firestop systems or devices. PFP has advanced continuously over the years as fire science and construction techniques have improved. The result is that structures today are often engineered and built with PFP in mind to offer the best fire defense available.
Detection and prevention are key components when it comes to building protection. Implementing robust security surveillance inside and outside is a must. This includes installing sufficient lighting, along with gear such as cameras, motion sensors and alarms.
It’s advised to ensure security systems are plainly visible to help deter wrongdoers. They should provide clear, usable video for when a crime occurs. Furthermore, intercoms and other communication systems need to be reliable so they can be properly utilized in emergency situations. They can be used not only to alert personnel of danger, but also to track the location of an unwanted entity, a fire or other threat.
Despite all efforts, buildings can still have weaknesses and areas of exposure. The key takeaway is to thoroughly assess existing security measures, determine any necessary improvements and address these issues. Completing such improvements can establish a safer building and a safer community. For more points of protection, please see the accompanying resource by U.S. Bullet Proofing.