Insulgard was recently featured in the April 2019 edition of US Glass, a leading publication for the architectural glass, metal, and glazing industries. The publication called attention to our line of StormDefend products made to provide protection from extreme weather like hurricanes and tornadoes.
These products are an important part of any sort of emergency preparedness strategy, including those for homeowners, businesses, and government institutions. If you’re interested in learning more about the StormDefend line of wind and impact resistant products, here’s a simple guide.
What Are The Differences Between Hurricane and Tornado Glazing?
Insulgard’s StormDefend product line offers solutions that provide protection in a variety of extreme weather situations, including both hurricanes and tornadoes. The general idea behind these two types of protective systems is very similar. The glazing material is designed to hold materials in place so they don’t shatter or break when exposed to pressure or impact.
However, hurricanes and tornadoes are very different types of storms. Hurricanes tend to be much larger in scale. So they can impact a larger area in a shorter period of time. They also often come with extra environmental impacts like heavy precipitation and flooding. However, for the homes and buildings that are in the path of a tornado, the impact can still be great. High winds and flying debris are among the major causes of damage in both of these cases.
So while the type of glazing materials used in these situations are similar in theory, they can provide different types of protection that are tailored to buildings in specific areas. For example, the threats that an office building in South Florida faces are likely quite different than a community center in Kansas. So it’s important that builders and property owners know their specific needs and choose products that meet the corresponding testing standards.
What Are The Situations That Storm Resistant Glazing Is Designed to Defend Against?
Storm resistant glazing, which is the type of material that is used in many of our StormDefend products, is designed to defend against a variety of threats. These products are wind and weather resistant, meaning they can stand up to pressure from high winds and precipitation. They’re also impact resistant, which allows them to stay put even when struck by flying debris traveling at high speeds. For example, if a storm picks up a piece of building material and pushes it into an exterior door or the side of a storm shelter, the glazing products or building materials used should not shatter or break.
It is important for both tornado and hurricane safe rooms to be able to withstand impact from flying debris, as well as pressure from high winds and other extreme weather conditions. But it’s also important for these products to provide protection from forced entry and other intentional threats. This protects buildings from theft or break-ins after major storms, which is when a lot of properties are often left vulnerable.
What Does The Testing Protocols for Tornado and Hurricane Resistant Materials Consist Of?
Although these two types of glazing materials do have a lot in common and provide similar levels of protection, there are different testing standards involved in evaluating these protective structures. The main entities that are responsible for testing and standardizing these systems include ICC, FEMA, and DOE. In all situations, wind and impact resistant products designed for both hurricanes and tornadoes needs to be able to withstand specific missile impact tests to prove they can hold up against potential storm debris.
For example, in order to meet FEMA 320 or 361 testing standards, materials built for tornado safe rooms need to be able to withstand impact from a 15-pound 2×4 traveling at speeds of between 80 and 100 miles per hour. For a hurricane safe room, products need to withstand impact from a 9-pound 2×4 traveling at speeds of between 80 and 124 miles per hour.
Some specific states and communities also have testing standards and building codes related to products intended for tornado and hurricane protection. For instance, the Florida and North Carolina state building codes offer provisions for both. And the Florida State Emergency Shelter Program offers testing requirements for community hurricane shelters within the state.
What Buildings Can Benefit from Insulgard’s Storm Protective Windows and Doors?
Nearly every type of facility can benefit from storm protective windows and doors. They are especially helpful in areas that might hold members of the public, expensive equipment, or sensitive data. For example, protective systems can be used in school entrances, exteriors of data centers, and banks and utility payment centers. Tornado and hurricane safe rooms can also be incredibly beneficial in community centers or public buildings, especially those located in coastal regions and areas with high concentrations of tornadoes. However, tornadoes can occur basically anywhere in the U.S. So it is important to plan for these threats even if you’re not specifically located in “Tornado Alley” or another area that’s specifically known for extreme weather conditions.
If you want to install hurricane and/or tornado protection around your facility, contact Insulgard today. We carry a huge variety of products designed to provide protection from extreme weather and other threats. Our line of StormDefend products includes tornado and hurricane windows and doors, glazing products, and safe room systems. All of our products are tested to meet the highest standards from testing bodies like FEMA and Miami-Dade County. Our team can also walk you through all of the storm protection systems available to help you find the perfect solutions for your building and your budget.