These $20,000 bulletproof shelters for classrooms can withstand shooters and Category 5 hurricanes
Shelter in Place
On Tuesday, a gunman fired at two students at Great Mills High School in Maryland, injuring both of them.
The event was the latest school shooting in the US, where a nationwide debate on the role of guns - especially automatic weapons - in civic society is ramping up. On February 14, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida made headlines when gunman Nikolas Cruz allegedly killed 17 people.
There likely won't be one solution to gun violence in schools. But one Utah-based couple believes they have created a temporary way that could make students safer.
In 2013, Salt Lake City resident Jim Haslem founded Shelter in Place, a company that builds custom, military-grade refuges that can withstand bullets and weather disasters. The first shelter was installed at an Oklahoma elementary school in 2015, and hundreds of American schools have them today.
Haslem told Business Insider that orders and inquiries from school districts have skyrocketed since the Parkland shooting.
Take a look below.
This 5-by-6-foot shelter was constructed for a classroom at Healdton Elementary in Oklahoma. Featuring 6,000 pounds of steel, it can fit 20 students and costs $20,000.
In the event of a storm or shooter, students would file into the shelter in fewer than 30 seconds.
The structure features a camera on the outside, which streams to an interior monitor. Inside, there are also padded benches, a battery backup, carpet flooring, lighting, and a ventilation system.
They double as reading rooms, which makes them less intrusive to classrooms, according to Haslem.
He doesn't see the shelters as a fix-all for school shootings, but believes they are a more bipartisan solution than gun regulation.
Made of ballistic steel, the shelters are super-strong. They can resist every type of bullet, including weapons that school shooters typically use, like AR-15s. They can also resist explosives, EF5 tornadoes, Category 5 hurricanes, and 9.5-magnitude earthquakes.
In the photo below, you can see that bullets from a .40 caliber (shot from various distances) made a few dents without passing through.
Haslem's team makes the shelters from 18-inch panels, and they can be customized to any size. Here is one that was built in a school library:
Haslem came up with the idea for the school shelters after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, when a gunman killed 20 children and six staff members.
The market for school security is growing. In 2017, sales of security equipment and services to the education sector hit $2.7 billion, up from $2.5 billion in 2015, according to data from IHS Markit.
When Haslem meets with school boards, they often say they are comforted by the fact that the shelters can stop bullets.
Haslem said that, since the Parkland shooting, he has received orders and inquiries from about 400 school districts — a number he expects to grow as these tragedies continue.
He also acknowledges that fear from parents, teachers, and superintendents has contributed to his company's sales growth.
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