The Storm Protection Center in Norman, Oklahoma recommends in case of a likely tornado strike, for students and staff to hunker down in an interior hall or windowless room. They also suggest crouching down, and placing their arms over their heads for protection. Avoid at all costs open gyms and auditoriums.
The above statement has been the go-to answer for many, many years. We’ve been told to hide under your desk, hide in an interior room, or what the Storm Prediction Center in Norma Oklahoma suggests.
The problem with all of these actions are, you are limited in the amount of real protection they offer. They really offer minimal protection from flying debris such as glass but doesn’t offer real solutions to the horrors that tornados bring.
On March 1, 2007, an F-3 tornado directly hit the Enterprise High School in Enterprise, AL at 1:10 pm. The High School students had moved to their designated locations in the hallways in accordance with their Emergency Plan. The tornado lifted a portion of the roof, the interior cinder block walls collapsed into the hallways and then the roof came back down. Eight students were killed and many others injured during the initial impact and others trying to depart the rumble and debris.
The National Severe Storms Laboratory says “The damage from tornadoes comes from the strong winds they contain. It is generally believed that tornadic wind speeds can be as high as 300 mph in the most violent tornadoes. Wind speeds that high can cause automobiles to become airborne, rip ordinary homes to shreds, and turn broken glass and other debris into lethal missiles. The biggest threat to living creatures (including humans) from tornadoes is from flying debris and from being tossed about in the wind.”
In 2016, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration cataloged 985 tornados, with 10 of those being fatal tornados which resulted in 17 deaths. These numbers also resulted in a curious find. Of the 17 fatalities, only 3 were located in the areas that you would associate with tornados, Oklahoma and Texas. The rest were spread out over 5 states, all in the south. From Louisiana (1 death) to Virginia (4 deaths), it’s proving that there are no “hot spots” for tornados anymore. But just like everything else in the world, there must be a better answer to make sure that you are safe and that location is not only strong but will also protect from flying debris.
Big 6 Introduces the Vast6!
The VAST6 is a cutting edge design that keeps everyone safe during active shooter events and tornados. This is “security through physical design”, ultimate security protection for students and teachers.
The VAST6 is an innovative, collapsible protection system, available for entry in less than 20 seconds, meeting all FEMA requirements for active shooter and tornado threats.
When the VAST6 is folded way, it is only 29” thick and takes up limited floor space. The VAST6 unit itself can be scaled to fit just about any class size to make sure there is room for everyone to feel safe and secure.
The ballistic panels meet FEMA Manual 453, National Institute of Justice Level III, and UL 752, Level 8 requirements.
What does that mean? The VAST6 stops .308 ball/7.62 mm rifle lead core full metal copper jacket, military ball, 150 grain at 2,750 feet per second. To put it simply, the VAST6 will stop bullets from pistols, shotguns and semi-automatic rifles such as the AK-47, AR-15 and AR-10. The ballistic material used for the panels exceeds the protective capabilities of steel. The ballistic panels of the VAST6 will absorb the bullet which will prevent ricochets while at the same time will not spall (flakes of a material that are broken off of the wall when a bullet hits that wall from the other side. This causes that material to become projectiles themselves) on the inside walls.
Other benefits of using ballistic panels instead of steel:
- No Electrical Conductivity
- No Radio/Cellular Electronic Signal Blockage
- Effective Delay Against Forced Entry
- Non-Toxic Materials
- Tested and approved for use in a one-hour firewall
- Lighter weight than steel
The unit can even be painted in your school colors, or to match the color scheme of the classroom.
Key Features of the Vast6
American Disabilities Act Compliant
With its integrated wheelchair ramp, its height-accessible touchscreen and locking mechanism, it meets all requirements of the ADA.
3 Point Main door latching system
The VAST 6 offers a single movement action of 90 degrees to slide steel bolts into the top, bottom, and side door frames. This system is accessible from wheelchair height.
Primary Anchoring System
The VAST6 anchoring system boasts an anchoring system based on one anchor per foot of shelter width that can hold up to 45,000 pounds per square foot.
Front Anchoring System
Ball-lock pins slide through frame, through metal deck plate into ball lock pin receptacle below the deck plate. This feature is for added protection during a tornado event.
Incoming Ventilation Vents
5 directional vents (3 vents in the front, 1 left side, and 1 right side vent) with 360-degree directional spin with full open to full close capability.
Ventilation Access Protection
Armored bullet stop design for intake and exhaust fans’ airflow access
Integrated Power Systems
There are 2 independently wired 12-volt batteries, each capable of powering the VAST6 electrical system for 12 hours, in the case there is a power failure at the facility. There is a “smart” battery conditioner that constantly monitors and recharges each battery.
USB recharging capable during both AC (when on facility power) and DC (internal power) power configuration.
Normally equipped by the user with storage available for water, first aid kit, hearing protection/ear plugs, dust masks, radio, and other supplies.
Each VAST6 has a designated storage position for its fire extinguisher. An internal camera system can photograph the fire extinguisher gauge and report via WiFi for monthly verification of the fire extinguisher without having to open the VAST6.
The touchscreen gives continual monitoring of sub-systems for battery power and controls for fans and lights. Is also accessible from wheelchair height.
The LED lighting system offers adjustable light levels, uses low energy, radiates low heat, are reliable and long-lasting.
Speaker Box with Audible alarms
Speaker mounted outside of VAST6 in the armored box offers 2 different very loud audible alarm tones to choose from, and is controlled from the touchscreen.
Local organization establishes the purpose for each alarm tone.
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