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Morning Sun
  • Via Christi tornado-proofs windows in its corridors

  • Via Christi Hospital is taking steps to make itself safer in the event extreme severe weather.

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  • Via Christi Hospital is taking steps to make itself safer in the event extreme severe weather.
    This week, crews from Dallas-based company Hanita Coatings have been installing protective film on windows in corridors where patients would be relocated due to weather events such as tornados — standard hospital procedure. The film is a thousandth of an inch thick yet strong enough to prevent projectiles from shattering and penetrating the glass in the event of tornado-strength winds, project manager Glenn Wocca said.
    “The glass might break, but the window will still hold,” Wocca, who has been installing Hanita products for 20 years. “It’s like a car window.”
    The window film attaches to the glass with pressure adhesive, which Wocca described as a “giant piece of fly tape.” Wocca first cleans each window and sprays the glass with liquid. He then peels off the protective plastic and wedges the film into the window frame before squeegeeing out the liquid — a process that allows the film to stick without forming air bubbles. He then screws on a multi-layered frame, which will anchor the window if it is hit by flying debris. The film also is used for protection against hurricane winds and blast mitigation in the event of bomb attacks.
    “It’s like hanging a piece of sheet metal on the glass,” Wocca said.
    The hospital is installing the coating on 88 corridor windows as well as the five labor and delivery rooms on the hospital’s new third floor women’s center. Public relations director Michael Hayslip sad hospital administration decided to contract the $54,000 project after the May 22 tornado destroyed much of Joplin, Mo., and St. John’s Hospital.
    “It comes down to safety, especially when you look at what happened at St. John’s,” Hayslip said. “Every window was blown out of the patient tower. We saw an instant need to find a product that will protect patients, families and employees.”
    The project should last about a week, Wocca said. And with good maintenance, the finished product should last at least 20 years.
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