Case Study: Large Pharmacy Chain Updates Bulletproof Windows

It is said that the only true constant in life is change, as it applies to just about every aspect of the human experience. Bulletproof glass is no exception. Science, technology, and experimentation have improved the effectiveness of transparent, bullet-resistant protective barriers over the course of the last few decades. The guns used by criminals have also changed in that time. It should come as no surprise then that the standards for bullet-resistant protection have also changed over time. When this happens, it can have a significant impact on the bulletproof glass requirements for customers large, small, and everywhere in between. In this case study, we discuss how Creative Industries addressed the changing needs and requirements of a large pharmacy chain.

Why Bullet-Resistant Barriers are Important to Medical Facilities

We’ve previously written about Medical Facility Dangers and Solutions to highlight the growing need for protective barriers, such as Bulletproof Windows for Hospitals and even Bulletproof Windows for Prison Pharmacies. Regardless of the type of medical facility in question, a common thread between all of them is the presence of prescription and/or over-the-counter drugs that are attractive targets for criminals because of their inherent street value or because they can be used as ingredients for manufacturing other kinds of illicit substances. Where there are drugs to be stolen, there will also be guns, which is why Bulletproof Glass for Medical Facilities is in higher demand than ever.

Bulletproof Glass Standards and the Organizations Behind Them

When a business or other organization decides to provide greater safety and security for its staff, assets, and operations by incorporating transparent bullet-resistant windows, they’re going to want to know that bulletproof products will be effective. Detailing what various bulletproof materials and products will and won’t do has become the business of three different safety organizations: Underwriters Laboratory (UL), the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM).

Each of these organizations has a slightly different focus or emphasis. Underwriters Laboratory is known for its ballistic glass standards (UL752) that define 10 different levels of protection from bullets of various calibers both in terms of stopping the bullet from penetrating the barrier and also in preventing spalling (fragmentation) from potentially injuring a person on the protected side of the barrier.

The National Institute of Justice is best known for its body armor standards, which means law enforcement draws heavily on NIJ standards. Their ballistic standards bulletproof glass (NIJ0108.01) only define prevention of complete penetration and do not address spalling.

The American Society for Testing Materials is more focused on the prevention of forced entry from impacts of blunt/sharp objects, thermal stress, and chemicals (gasoline and acetone). The standards address bullet penetration, but not to the more exacting specifications of the UL standards. Here’s a summary of the 8 levels of protection described in UL752:

  • Level 1: Withstands a minimum of three shots from a 9mm gun at a minimum velocity of 1,175 feet per second. A common choice for protection against small-caliber handguns.
  • Level 2: Resists at least three shots of .357 magnum soft points at a velocity of 1,250 feet per second.
  • Level 3: Withstands a minimum of three shots of .44 magnum rounds at a velocity of 1,350 feet per second.
  • Level 4: Resists at least one shot from a .30 caliber rifle with a minimum velocity of 2,540 feet per second. Levels 1–3 are linear (level 3 also protects against everything described in levels 1 and 2), but levels 4 and above describe different types of protection, meaning level 8 doesn’t automatically provide the protection described in level 7, and so on.
  • Level 5: Withstands at least one full metal jacket round from a 7.62mm rifle with a velocity of at least 2,750 feet per second.
  • Level 6: Resists at least five 9mm rounds at an elevated minimum velocity of 1,400 feet per second.
  • Level 7: Withstands multiple full metal jacket rounds with 5.56 rifles at a minimum velocity of 3,080 feet per second.
  • Level 8: Resists at least five shots from a 7.62mm rifle.

Whatever the standards being used, they can and do change over time, which is what resulted in Creative Industries working with a large pharmacy chain to revisit the bullet-resistant window product being used in select locations.

When Protective Standards Change

In the UL752 standards, Level 1 has always been geared toward protecting against three-shot clusters of bullets from the most common caliber of smaller handguns and pistols. Here’s where things changed, though: That used to mean small handguns of the .22 or .25 caliber.  Later, the absolute handgun of choice for most criminal activity became the 9mm. Underwriters Laboratory eventually changed the Level 1 standard in UL752 to be protective against a three-shot cluster of bullets from a 9mm handgun. This change resulted in a higher degree of protection for Level 1. For this reason, any location that had installed Level 1 bullet-resistant glass and windows under the previous standard needed to find out whether they had adequate protection against the newer, most commonly used handgun in criminal activity.

Creative Industries had previously served the large pharmacy chain when it had originally installed Level 1 bullet-resistant windows in select locations. With changes ot Level 1 of the UL752 standards, it was time to work with the same client to determine what their path forward would be.

The Creative Industries Solution

Creative Industries already had a long-standing relationship with this large pharmacy chain customer, supplying them with Level 1 glass for many years at select locations. When the client got in touch with us about whether they needed a different kind of glass, the first thing we did was to run a series of laboratory tests to confirm two things: First, to find out if the previous glass we supplied would still meet the changed standard. The results indicated the glass would not adequately meet the protective standard against the large caliber handgun. The second thing tested was what formulation of bullet-resistant glass would meet the changed standard. Once those were determined, we returned to the client with our proposed solution.

The client was pleased with the replacement products of Creative Industries so they could comply with the desired level of protection in locations needing it. The bulletproof glass windows were manufactured and installed at all the locations identified as requiring the replacement products.

How Creative Industries Works with Clients

Besides highlighting how a change in bullet-resistant glass standards can have very real-world impacts across many different companies and organizations, what’s really at the heart of this case study is how Creative Industries works with clients in general, as well as more specifically with medical facilities such as pharmacies, hospitals, and all kinds of healthcare-related clinics and urgent care centers.

Whereas the end-use client is the medical facility, we’re usually working with whatever company the client uses for specific construction, renovation, and retrofitting. Sometimes it might be a construction company or a more specific installer of security systems that include bullet-resistant glass products. Either way, critical factors at play include the following:

  • Upgrades: One key to the success achieved with the large pharmacy chain was the willingness of Creative Industries to take on the upgrading of existing facilities. There are many companies who wouldn’t do this because they’re more focused on new-build projects than upgrades or retrofits.
  • Reputability: Our reputation at Creative Industries is one of deep experience and expertise in the bulletproof glass industry, as well as doing right by clients and standing by our work, whether it’s a one-off project at a single location or an entire chain of facilities needing attention.
  • Customizability: Just as important is our ability and willingness to customize any solution to the specific needs, requirements, and desires of the client. Our starting point is always our catalog of standard products, including a wide range of bulletproof windows. Most clients immediately recognize the specific type of product they want but often want modifications to it for a variety of reasons, including aesthetics. We help clients sort through those modifications to pinpoint what’s possible while still providing the desired level of protection and keeping affordability in mind.

Creative Industries has worked with scores of medical facility clients over the decades. Two of our most recent healthcare clients have included hospitals in Providence, Rhode Island, and a regional medical center in North Carolina; both facilities required customized solutions to meet their needs.

This is the kind of work Creative Industries has been doing for many decades. If it’s time for your company to provide greater safety and security, regardless of what industry you’re in, we’re ready to help! Contact Us today or call us directly at 800-776-2068. We look forward to finding out how we can serve you!