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Broken Glass Containment

When a tempered glass window is to be broken to gain access to the interior, crews may decide to contain the broken glass.

When a tempered glass window is to be broken to gain access to the interior, crews may decide to contain the broken glass. This is typically done by applying strips of duct tape or a sheet of contact paper to the exterior of the glass. These adhesive materials do NOT work on a wet window or on extremely dirty glass.

A 'best practices' method when applying duct tape can use as few as four strips of tape and creates duct tape 'handles'. These handles allow the glass to be pulled outward; away from the occupants inside.

1. Create two duct tape handles by applying two vertical strips to the window first.

  • Apply the tape to the top of the glass,
  • Pull the tape down beyond the bottom of the glass,
  • Tear off the strip so it is longer than the height of the window,
  • Press the bottom of the tape to the bottom of the glass,
  • Press the remainder of the strip of tape to the glass, working from the bottom up or from the top down,
  • Excess tape is folded into a "handle".

    2. Apply two vertical strips in this manner with the duct tape handles 1/3 of the distance from the top of the glass,

    3. Apply a minimum of two horizontal strips of tape that are slightly less than the width of the glass to form a grid pattern of tape on the glass and to bond the vertical strips to the glass,

    4. One rescuer holds the two 'handles' on the vertical strips as the assisting rescuer breaks the glass,

    5. A slight pull is applied to the duct tape handles, moving the taped glass outward and away from the vehicle.

    A 'best practices' technique when using contact paper or shelving paper to contain broken glass nuggets also involves creating a 'handle'.

    1. Apply the sheet of contact paper to the top portion of the window glass first,

    2. Apply the contact paper to the top of the window, working from the top down,

    3. At a point 1/3 of the distance from the top of the glass, create a 'handle' by folding excess contact paper into a one inch wide seam running horizontally across the window glass,

    4. Continue to apply the contact paper to the remainder of the window glass,

    5. Trim excess contact paper so it touches only the window glass and NOT the door, window frame, or body of the vehicle,

    6. One rescuer holds onto the 'handle' created in the sheet of contact paper,

    7. Assisting rescuer breaks the tempered glass,

    8. A pull is applied to the 'handle' to move the glass outward and away from the interior occupant area of the vehicle.

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