Recent events are pushing door and window security features into the spotlight, and concern over security is definitely on the rise. First there was the recent school shooting in Newtown, Conn., in which the gunman shot and broke through the glass of the front door to gain entry. This event brought renewed interest in increasing security in our schools. Would laminated glass possibly have prevented him from gaining entry? Check out this video and decide for yourself!

Then came Hurricane Sandy which has inspired renewed interest in impact-rated doors and windows, and you can bet that much of the renovation work going on will involve this type of product. Hurricane specific ratings aside, this type of event spawns renewed interest in higher Design Pressure (DP) Ratings so many OEM suppliers are responding with designs capable of increasing the DP ratings whether from superior frame design, stiffeners or innovative hardware locking designs. Indeed this technology is nothing new, but I what I am seeing is new technology that is pushing DP ratings higher at a minimal cost increase.

Next up was the asteroid hit in Russia. The events of Feb. 15 provide a stark reminder of this ever-present danger. On that day, a 55-foot-wide (17 meters) space rock exploded without warning over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, damaging thousands of buildings and wounding 1,200 people. Hours later, the 130-foot asteroid 2012 DA14 missed Earth by just 17,200 miles (27,700 kilometers), coming closer than the planet’s ring of geosynchronous satellites. Many of the injuries in the Chelyabinsk impact were caused not by the asteroid itself but from flying glass resulting from the shockwave, not unlike that of shrapnel from a grenade or mortar. Once again, laminated glass is sure to be considered during the restoration. While astronomers have spotted 95 percent of the 980 near-Earth asteroids at least 0.6 miles (1 km) wide, which might end civilization if they hit us, many smaller but still hazardous space rocks remain undetected. The use of safety glass can protect many in the event of future strikes.

When quoting door and window hardware customers I am also seeing an increased interest in security of residential entryways. The use of dual and multi-point locking devices on patio doors is on the rise. Secondary locking devices placed higher on the door make it difficult for little ones to exit onto the patio or pool area unless mom and dad are aware. My customers are also excited about selling new anti-lift mechanisms now available on select mortise locking hardware. Such improvements are getting positive feedback as these hardware items further inhibit would be burglars from lifting a door off the tracks.

Window Opening Control Devises (WOCDs) automatically limit the opening of windows to 4 inches when the sash is first opened. These devices, also referred to as “Angel Locks,” are used to prevent little ones from opening windows enough to crawl out thereby preventing dangerous falls. WOCDs can be manipulated by adults to allow the sash to be further opened for ventilation or emergency escape. They automatically reset when the sash is returned to its closed position. These locks are actually being mandated in certain parts of the country.

Thermal performance may be the hottest topic of present but I believe the next wave that comes along will be safety! It is also an angle for which an astute marketing department does not need to await legislation in order to create an effective sales pitch. After all, a human life is priceless!



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