Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How the Moore Hospital Could Have Been Saved from Tornado...

Our thoughts and prayers are for the residents of Oklahoma who have been hit by a devastating massive tornado with winds of 200 mph - one of the most destructive forces of Mother Nature.

But is it possible to reduce deaths and injuries by using a relatively new technology that would protect every buildings' weakest link?  If so, how would it protect people?

There is such a technology.  To understand it, you have to understand what happens in a killer storm that makes them destroy buildings.

The Moore Oklahoma tornado hit its hospital as well as a high school being used as a tornado shelter. Here is a photo of what the Moore hospital looked like after it was hit:
Notice the bare vertical frames - that is where glass is normally. Notice there is not a single pane of glass visible.

Tornadoes are basically tight hurricanes. Discover how hurricanes destroy and you have a clue how tornadoes destroy.

"Project Safe Windows" was a study made after four hurricanes hit Florida in 2004. It investigated the cause of structural failure. How could one house survive while another next to it was totally destroyed?

The culprit: Wind-borne debris. Glass will flex up to a point in wind but once debris is hurled against it in high winds, glass will shatter, breaking the building seal-- and allowing high speed winds to enter inside. Once inside the winds are trying to exit by pushing against the roof and the walls, basically exploding it apart. Ask an architect - buildings are designed to withstand external pressures, not internal. Once wind is inside from a hole in a window, you also have glass shrapnel and rain damage as the winds tear things apart.

Project Safe Windows" also discovered that the houses that survived had window coverings - keeping the building sealed. Any kind of covering worked - whether it was shutters impact glass or Security Window Film. (The least costly of these options is the last one --shutters and impact glass costs 3 to 10 times more per sq. ft.)

Tornadoes act like hurricanes - swirling high speed winds hurling debris from objects it strikes on the ground--shingles, signs, rocks, you name it.

When the windows are hit, they blow in, spraying deadly glass shards and allowing the winds to enter inside, pushing off the roof and collapsing the walls. Had the glass on the Moore High School and Moore Hospital had Security Film bonded to the frames there is a good chance that they would have survived the storm - or had significantly less damage and injuries.  The following is a photo of what one hospital windows looked like after surviving Hurricane Charley in Florida - broken glass contained in Security Film - still in the frame, still keeping out wind, rain, debris...

And the following photo is what made the difference....
That clear film is 8 Mil SECURITY/SAFETY Film being installed at the University of Houston General Services building in 2008 - just before Hurricane IKE hit in September of that year - protecting its Computer servers, etc. It is rated for a Large Missile impact (4.5 lb. Level C) and even a Level 2 explosion. We bond it to the frames with a special structural sealant to give it more support.

And the following photos is that film being installed on a ward for premature babies at Sparrow Hospital by Armor Glass in Lansing Michigan in 2012...

Technology does make a difference in our lives. We should use it to "harden" our buildings' weakest link to protect people and property. This is not to say that even our technology would protect from a direct hit of a E5 tornado, but it would provide vastly more protection than what buildings have now - which is NO protection on their glass.

This carbon negative product (meaning it saves more energy than it takes to make) would also pay for itself in ENERGY SAVINGS while protecting people. What is better than that? We have put it on buildings at Rice University, Cola Cola, UH, astronauts homes, banks, schools, and retired teachers.

Again, our condolences to all the families who lost loved ones, not just in Moore, Oklahoma, but also in Grandbury, TX, Joplin, MO -- and a long list of other communities threatened by tornadoes, hurricanes (Katrina, Sandy, IKE etc), explosions (West, Texas) and human intrusions (burglars).

Let's learn from these disasters and take actions to prevent and reduce injuries and deaths by "armoring your glass" before the next tragic event.

That is our best contribution to a better, safer world.

Watch a 2 minute video that shows how it works.
Armor Glass

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