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Explosive-resistant film boosts war on terror

It’s July 22nd, 2011. 15:16hrs. An unidentified man, aged 32, drives into the government district in Oslo, Norway in an unmarked white van.

He parks it in front of a building where the office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Justice are located. Another building directly across houses the ministries of petroleum, energy, trade and industry. Located just to the right, is the ministry of finance.

The driver emerges a few moments later, dressed in a police uniform, while wearing a face shield and brandishing a gun. He stands outside the van briefly then briskly walks away, steps into another parked car, and drives off.

Minutes later, a receptionist in the prime minister’s office dials the police hotline to report a suspicious van parked outside the building. She never completes the call. At 15.25hrs, an explosion rocks the Oslo government district to its core.The blast could be heard up to seven kilometres away, with white smoke seen rising from the debris as emergency response units scrambled to get to the scene.  The first unit arriving at 15.28hrs. Eight people died in the attack, with countless others injured.

Flash back four years before the attack and the Oslo government had the German firm Haverkamp install Profilon ER 1, a  bomb-resistant film,  on all government buildings in the district. It is this film that is credited with keeping the number of casualties on the day at a minimum.

“Oslo itself talks about the fact that many people owe their lives and health to the defensive qualities of this security film,” said Ulrich Haverkamp, the company’s Founder and CEO.

Today, the global threat of terror refuses to wane. Recent high-profile attacks in Europe, including in Manchester where 22 lives were lost to a cowardly act of terror, coupled with land mines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) targeting Kenyan defence forces in Somalia, Lamu, Garissa, and Mandera as well as the Westgate terrorist attack in Nairobi in 2013 have magnified the threat further.

Manmeet Singh, formerly Securex Technical (Kenya) General Manager, said an earlier interview that it is for such reasons that Securex decided to partner with Haverkamp, a world leader in the production of impact and explosion-resistant films, to bring this revolutionary product to Kenya. “In case of an explosion, the blast waves turn glass and shrapnel into missile-like projectiles, which cause the majority of fatalities. We’re delighted to have partnered with Haverkamp to provide a mitigating measure to this crisis,” said Singh.

Most suicide bombers will drive into the basement of a building, meaning the lower floors will be more exposed. Depending on the size and type of explosive, as well as the size of the building, glass from windows can shatter at speeds of up to 10,000 metres per second or 36,000 kilometres per hour, which can directly cause up to 80 per cent of all incident-related fatalities.

Such high levels of personal injury can be mitigated with the Profilon ER 1 bomb-resistant film, which holds glass in place during a blast. The film, which is 94 per cent transparent, is also scratch and impact-resistant, offering effective protection against thrown projectiles and incendiary devices. “Remember that windows are often the most vulnerable points in a building. This film helps protect the windows, especially on the lower floors, which are particularly vulnerable,” said Singh.

He said being impact-resistant, the film also deters break-ins by holding off burglars for several minutes, allowing emergency response units to get in place and apprehend the thugs.

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