Post Breakage Retention a Key Factor of Glass Safety in Attacks

Last Friday, France suffered the worst attack it has seen in decades and the deadliest since World War II.

In an approximate one-hour span, ISIS-linked terrorists executed multiple attacks at seven locations in Paris, killing at least 129 people and wounding more than 300. The deadliest round came at the Bataclan concert hall, where a California-based band was performing. At least 89 people died and more than 100 were injured at that location, according to the Daily Mirror.

As a result of an earlier shooting spree that left others dead, The Globe and Mail reports: “Most of the tall glass windows on the left flank of Le Carillon, one of the most popular bars in the 10th arrondissement, were shattered. They had been sprayed with bullets. Two neat, round holes could be seen in two of the windows.” Saturday, it reports, “There was no police tape to prevent anyone from examining the facades of either place. Some poked their fingers into the bullet holes, obviously fascinated by the aftermath of the violence.”

A few streets away, gunmen also fired upon Cafe Bonne Biere and La Casa Nostra, where bullets penetrated glass doors. Another eatery, La Belle Equipe, was fired upon, and a café called Comptoir Voltaire endured an explosion. Suicide bombers also detonated their explosives that evening outside a soccer match in the city’s northern suburbs.

Impact of Glass Breakage

The severe injuries and causes of death in the attacks were gunshot wounds and from blasts. Glass and glazing, however, can pose additional harm at the point of breakage, something Valerie Block of Kuraray says is important to consider “in any situation glass could be broken.”

It is impossible to predict when a given attack will occur, especially at such non-suspecting venues as those in Paris. Block says that in terms of general security, the main concern from a glazing standpoint is what happens after the glass breaks.

An example, she says, is the East Africa embassy bombings nearly two decades ago. “You see people lying all over the place with glass injures—eye injuries, skin penetration, etc.,” she says. “Glass shards traveling at a high velocity can do a lot of damage … without having anything to do with the actual blast.”

Other factors that come into play in relation to an attack are point-of-entry security, as well as ballistic applications. The latter, however, is typically reserved for areas that are more susceptible to crime or have a heightened level of security. In other places, laminated glazing can still be effective from various types of impact.

“No matter what you do, you can’t anticipate the full force of an attack,” she says. “As soon as you figured out one strategy, a terrorist is going to think of another way [to breach it].”

With that, she says the key should be focusing on products that are safer in regard to a glass-related injury. “We’re still going to have glass, and we want people to feel comfortable around glass,” she says. “One step that can be taken is addressing post-breakage retention.”

Moment of Silence

Things hit very close to home over the weekend for one industry company, Saint-Gobain, which is headquartered in a suburb of Paris.

Today, the company observed silence for one minute at noon throughout all of its sites in memory of the victims.

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