Hospitals Gearing Up for Window Protection Amid Uptick in Violence and Looming Hurricane Season

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The impact of COVID-19 on our lives has been dramatic and far-reaching. One under-the-radar issue has been the uptick on attacks on our nation’s health care workers. It had been an issue prior to COVID as workplace violence in health care facilities had resulted in the deaths of 58 hospital employees from 2011 to 2016.

COVID-19 has made matters worse. Specifically, the crushing realty for family members not able to see their loved ones infected with the virus and even more so when they die without being able to say good-bye has increased the animosity toward health care workers even more.

As a result, a bill aimed at workplace violence protections for health care workers has passed the House, as the Biden administration has urged lawmakers to advance legislation. The Workplace Violence Prevention for Healthcare and Social Service Workers Act passed the House in April and currently is working its way through the Senate. The bipartisan measure aims to require reporting and prevention policy mandates for health care facilities, where workers have been an increasing target of physical violence.

Part of protecting health care workers is protecting the buildings they work in, mainly hospitals. And one of the first lines of defense in any hospital building is protecting the windows and glass entranceways. The lesson there can be learned from all the violent intrusions we have witnessed in our nation’s schools in recent years. A number of the intruders gained entrance through unprotected glass doors and windows.

The solution is pretty simple: The installation of security window film or polycarbonate security glass system is the best way to keep armed intruders out of your hospital or other health care building. Although security window films have been around for years, they have increasingly been the go-to window protection for many of the country’s high-profile government buildings as well as commercial buildings.

The polycarbonate option – which is known as DefenseLite – is more recent. It’s even more effective than security window film but is more expensive as well.  The flexible and vented design is a patented security overglaze that anchors onto existing window, door and curtainwall glazing frames. The result is an invisible layer of unbreachable – and unbreakable – glass security protecting against unwanted entry.

Both the security window films and polycarbonate glass protection systems have been proven to hold glass in place under the most extreme bomb blasts.

Another threat to hospital buildings and health care employees have been the uptick in severe spring and summer storms – specifically hurricanes and tornadoes. When Hurricane Michael stuck Florida in 2018 the impact on hospitals and other health care facilities in the state’s panhandle was enormous. Nine hospitals suffered so much damage they were forced to close. Also, five nursing homes and 15 assisted-care facilities also closed.  In each case, patients had to be evacuated to other facilities.

Damage to the buildings included destroyed roofs, buckled walls and shattered windows. Considering the enormous importance of always safe and functioning health care facilities are to communities, hospitals increasingly are looking for ways to make their buildings safer for their patients and employees.

As with the increased violence and armed intrusion threat to hospitals, health care officials increasingly are considering protecting their windows from foul weather threats as well. Security window films and polycarbonate glass protection systems hold the glass in place, keeping it from shattering and sending shards of glass flying through the building, causing serious injuries.

For example, after a series of hurricanes struck Florida’s east and west coasts in the early 2000s, the University of Florida & Shands Medical Center in Jacksonville installed 10,000 square feet of fragment retention film on 395 windows. The hospital is a critical care center making it difficult to move its patients should a weather disaster strike.

When hospital officials consider protecting their windows they want to be certain they hire a security window film and polycarbonate glass protection system installer with considerable experience and expertise. For more than 35 years, Commercial Window Shield has been one of the country’s leading installers of security window films and other glass protection systems.

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