The glass and enamel industry has endeavored to do its part to ensure school safety. After eight months of dedicated effort, the industry is now on the verge of having a universal standard that will help create a safe and secure learning environment.
A new ASTM international document, Standard Test Method for Resistance to Forced Entry of Windowing Systems After a Simulated Active Shooter Attack, was created by the ASTM F12 safety committee. The standard will help school districts choose from a range of high-performance products that will add extra protection to schools.
Work on the standard test method began on November 21, 2021. It is now pending successful full review by ASTM International before publication. The full, published document is expected to be cleared for publication within ASTM by August 1.
The frequency of school shootings has prompted the National Glass Association to form a School Safety Task Force to create a relevant international standard that attempts to slow down and prevent intruders from entering facilities through windows. locked. Following a review of applicable security test methods, the working group identified gaps in reference standards such as reproducible, mode-driven, and consensus-based windowing test methods, which included system weakening and forced entry.
“This standard should yield a good selection of accessible high-performance products that, when properly incorporated, can add a highly functional layer of protection for schools,” says Julia Schimmelpenningh, technical engagement manager for Eastman Chemical Co. in Springfield, Mass., technical lamination liaison for the association’s manufacturing committee and member of the school’s safety task force. “The goal is to help minimize the number of injuries or fatal events by deterring active shooter scenarios.”
The push for a standard in safety products follows a history of mass shootings in schools across the country. The most recent was at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were murdered by a lone gunman with a high-powered rifle.
The new test method includes weakening the fenestration system with projectiles followed by mechanical impact to simulate an active shooter weakening the system and trying to force entry. Fenestration products are rated on eight levels of forced entry resistance. The test offers a range of performance options with easy to assess pass/fail criteria and will give prescribers performance and cost options to meet their needs.
“This is a rating for complete fenestration products and systems,” Schimmelpenningh says of the test. “He is mechanically driven. So there’s no human variable, and there’s very, very clear pass/fail criteria so we don’t have to rely on interpretation.
The test includes 10 shots of a single type of weapon and ammunition that are fired at the glazing in a tight burst. The only weapon used is the AR-15 with 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition. The AR-15 was selected because it is the most commonly used weapon in attacks, Schimmelpenningh explains.
The test also includes impacts after the initial decay. This is done with a 100 pound impactor at the center of mass. There are eight different drop heights with the impactor at the same weight.
Kevin Norcross, General Manager, Vetrotech Saint-Gobain North America, also argues on the importance of school safety.
“There are limits to what our industry can control, so the right decision is to focus on how our products can make our communities safer,” he says. “Ultimately, the best approach is a holistic approach that involves solutions from many, many sectors. We can do our part to help make schools a safe zone through standards like these and more.