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

New guard booths must be not only bullet-resistant but also blast-resistant in the face of terrorist threats to public and government facilities. The booths must provide a secure space in which guards can continue to protect the main facility, even in the wake of nearby explosions or other disasters.

Los Angeles, CA. – July 22, 2011 – Designed and manufactured by B.I.G. Enterprises (www.bigbooth.com), the all new “Stainless Bullet” secure guard booth model addresses the challenge of bullet resistant construction to provide safety for guards as well as a welcoming interface for visitors. 

Crash-resistant walls and barriers are vitally important in securing a facility's perimeter, but protecting the personnel inside is even more essential. “Security guards are viewed by many as both a vital element of terror 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 new post–9/11 security requirements in specific industries, it brings with it special manufacturing needs. For any booth to remain intact after exposure to a blast—and for the personnel inside to survive and respond to the attack—it must be designed to withstand the two phenomena of an explosion’s blast wave: the initial blast and the rebound effect. Unlike bullet resistance, blast resistance must deal with these two distinct phases of positive and negative pressure waves that are created radiating outward and then inward. 

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

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

Towards that end, The Seabees—based in Port Hueneme, CA—recently installed guard booths around several naval bases. The structures have radio and telephone links and are equipped with bright interior lighting, exterior floodlights, loudspeakers and large windows, offering a 360-degree view of the perimeter.