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Explosive-Resistant Film and the War on Terror

  • Posted by: Lloyd Gitonga

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; a Volkswagen Crafter.

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 Office of the Prime Minister picks up the phone and dials the police hotline to report a suspicious van parked outside the building. She never completes the call.

At 1525Hrs, an explosion rocks the Oslo government district to its core. Reportedly, the blast could be heard up to 7 kilometres away. White smoke could be seen rising from the debris as emergency response units scrambled to get to the scene, with the first unit arriving at 1528Hrs. Eight people died in the terror 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 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 recognizably 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 C.E.O.

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 (I.E.Ds) targeting Kenyan defence forces in Lamu, Garissa, and Mandera have magnified the threat even further. 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 the event 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 worrying phenomenon,” said Manmeet Singh, the Securex Technical General Manager.


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% of all incident-related fatalities. Such catastrophic 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% transparent, is also scratch and impact-resistant, giving you effective protection against thrown projectiles and incendiary devices.


“It’s also important to 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 targeted as points of entry for criminals,” Mr. Singh explained.

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 intruders. In fact, certain models of the impact-resistant film enhance intrusion detection by acting as alarm triggers. The Profilon Alarm A1 film, for instance, features micro-fibres which send a mobile notification and trigger an alarm should the wires be broken. The advantage with this, according to Mr. Singh, is that the system is less prone to false activations.

“Most premises have been using vibration sensors to trigger alarms when a window’s integrity is compromised by external force. With the Profilon Alarm A1, the risk of false alarm activations is virtually eliminated, enhancing efficiency,” Mr. Singh said.

Moving away from the Profilon ER 1 and the Profilon Alarm A1, there are a number of impact and bomb-resistant films whose applications vary based on a client’s needs. The Profilon AX A1 (3-ply) for example is ideal for use in low-risk areas, while the more secure Profilon P3A (4-ply) should be used on the lower floors of high-rise buildings in high-risk areas. This is because given the overlying modus operandi of most bombers, such as the terrorist responsible for the Oslo attack, the threat is more significant on the lower floors and lessens the higher you go. The film can also be used in securing houses and cars.


“Most suicide bombers will drive into the basement of a building, meaning the lower floors will be more exposed to the shockwaves of a blast. This is why we look at customizing our options to best suit the client’s needs. We could, for example, install the Profilon P3A on the lower floors, the Profilon ER 1 on the mid-level floors and the Profilon AX A1 for the higher floors,” Mr. Singh concluded.

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