Changing Glass Standards For Buildings and Motor Vehicles
Building and motor vehicle window standards and regulations around the world have changed substantially in past decade in response to violent weather and terrorism. These standards were developed to enhance safety by protecting building occupants from flying debris due to blasts or hurricane/cyclone winds, limiting motor vehicle occupant ejection during crashes and to deterring unwanted access to sensitive and unprotected areas. Laminated glass is commonly used in windows and provides a number of benefits including: Safety, UV Control, Security, Sound Reduction, Solar Energy Control, Weather and Natural Disaster Protection, and Durability. However, these changes can hinder emergency personnel during operations and require enhanced tools and procedures.
Glass Standards for US Automobiles
In 2011, the Code of Federal Regulations was updated adding FMVSS 226 – Ejection Mitigation. To boil this down quickly, starting in 2017 with calculated introduction, all motor vehicles in the US will be required to incorporate methods to reduce the likelihood of occupant ejection. Car manufacturers are expected to use some combination of side curtain airbags and advanced glazings (i.e. laminated side windows). What this means for FIRE, EMS and POLICE is your old ways of getting into a vehicle needs NEW TOOLS. RHYNO was introduced in 2012 to meet this need. RHYNO Saves Lives!
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During emergency situations, personnel such as POLICE, FIRE, EMS, SWAT, Bomb Squads, Homeland Security, FEMA and other tactical or military groups often are required to quickly and forcibly remove window glass in motor vehicles and buildings to gain access, apprehend a fugitive, extrication, rescue, ventilation, evidence collection, etc… Enhanced safety glass hinders these operations and require updated procedures and protocols to be developed.
Effects on Emergency Personnel
Laminated glass is also routinely used in building curtain walls (a non-structural outer covering of a building), skylights, and prisons. More recently, laminated glass has also been used for blast and hurricane protection for building windows. In urban areas, ground-level and the 1st floors are all blast protected with safety glass. Manual, revolving and automatic doors have been constructed of laminated safety glass for several years. With the recent high-profile school attacks in the US, schools are hardening their doors and windows with laminated glass to hinder and deter attackers and terrorists.