B.I.G.’s Guard Booths Designed to Withstand Explosions' Blast Waves Protect Against Terror Threats

Designed and manufactured by B.I.G. Enterprises (www.bigbooth.com), the allnew “Stainless Bullet” secure guard booth model addresses the challenge ofbullet resistant construction to provide safety for guards as well as awelcoming interface for visitors.

Crash-resistant walls and barriers are vitally important in securing afacility's perimeter, but protecting the personnel inside is even moreessential. “Security guards are viewed by many as both a vital element ofterror deterrence and the first line of response to terrorist attacks,”security expert Paul W. Parfomak wrote in a recent report.

Because blast resistance in guard booth construction is one of the newpost–9/11 security requirements in specific industries, it brings with itspecial manufacturing needs. For any booth to remain intact after exposureto a blast—and for the personnel inside to survive and respond to theattack—it must be designed to withstand the two phenomena of an explosion’sblast wave: the initial blast and the rebound effect. Unlike bulletresistance, blast resistance must deal with these two distinct phases ofpositive and negative pressure waves that are created radiating outward andthen inward.

"In the event of a blast," says ballistics expert Kelley Elmore of LosAngeles-based engineering firm Hopper, Elmore and Associates, “the initialblast wave comes through and pushes the building out, and then the negativeportion of the blast restores the building toward its original position.This is called a rebound effect.” The negative waves last three times aslong as the positive waves. The new materials and technologies used in theguard booths take both the initial blast wave and the rebound into account,preserving the lives of security personnel as well as keeping the structureitself intact.

The booth must also be a self-sufficient unit that can continue to functiontechnologically after an assault, with all security and communicationdevices contained within its protective walls. “360º visual access fromwithin the booth is essential,” says New York City architect Richard Ramsey.“Coordination with outside systems and the complete protection of thosesystems from within the booth are also important. Bullet and blastresistance allows communication even when under attack.”

Towards that end, The Seabees—based in Port Hueneme, CA—recently installedguard booths around several naval bases. The structures have radio andtelephone links and are equipped with bright interior lighting, exteriorfloodlights, loudspeakers and large windows, offering a 360-degree view ofthe perimeter.

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