The General Services Administration (GSA) and other government agencies are retrofitting the windows of existing buildings to mitigate the effects of flying glass in the event of an explosive terrorist attack. Little is known about the consequences such retrofits can have for emergency responders who may need to gain emergency access and/or egress through windows. The GSA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) contracted with Hinman Consulting Engineers, Inc., to perform forcible entry testing of certain selected air-blast-resistant windows and window retrofit systems commonly found in GSA buildings nationwide. In collaboration with the Protective Glazing Council, and the San Jose Fire Department, Hinman Consulting Engineers, Inc., conducted these tests on May 28, 2003. This report lists the window configurations tested, describes the procedures employed, and summarizes the findings of the tests.
Over the past twenty years, the federal government has been retrofitting the windows of existing buildings to mitigate the effects of explosive attacks. Recently, the number of available air-blast-mitigating retrofits has expanded, as has the number of buildings receiving retrofits. This increases the potential for firefighters to find these enhanced window systems on buildings during fire and other emergencies.