Holding it together, Glass security film lowers injuries from bombs, weather

Nicholas Ashton will tell you that if necessity is the mother of invention, desperation is the father. Both were present when Irish Republican Army bombs bloodied London in the early 1970s. Ashton and business partner Gary Blake decided to strike back at terror in their own way.

Noting that up to 85 percent of injuries and fatalities in the bombings were because of flying glass, they developed security window film products.

Today, SSAF International Ltd.'s line of thin-but-strong window coverings lead the security industry in protecting automobiles and buildings, not only from terrorists' bombs and bullets, but also hurricanes and tornadoes -- and even the sun's harmful ultraviolet light.

After more than three decades of selling its Impax-brand window films solely out of the United Kingdom, SSAF is recruiting dealers internationally. One of the first companies to qualify is Orem-based Utah Security Specialists (USS).

That's what brought Ashton, who heads SSAF's office in Fort Myers, Fla., to Utah this week. Along with Joseph Purdon, USS director of operations, Ashton met with a host of potential clients for SSAF's products -- and he had fresh success stories to share.

"I just got back from Baghdad," Ashton said Monday. "The Sheraton Hotel there has been hit three times by rocket attacks, but on the floors where we covered the windows with our products, no glass has come inside at all from the blasts."

He and Purdon were en route to visit several potential clients at Salt Lake City International Airport, intending to bid on contracts for window security work. They declined to identify other potential customers they were meeting with this week, except to say the potential clients ranged from owners of private sector and governmental buildings to public transportation officials.

"We're meeting with those who will be our first [SSAF] clients," Purdon said. "This [dealership] will definitely be a big boost to our primary goal, which is to protect people and property. Offering this product will add an element of safety we couldn't offer before."

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