Security blankets generally only provide youngsters with psychological comfort, but the Bodyguard Blanket, from Oklahoma-based ProTecht, LLC., is intended to provide some more concrete security. Made from ballistic materials, it is designed to provide protection from bullets in the event of a school shooting, or from falling or flying debris in the event of a tornado.
It's a sad state of affairs when children aren't safe from the threat of gunfire at school. But according to Oklahoma-based company ProTecht, LLC., the US has seen over 40 school shootings since the tragic events that took place on December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In many areas, dangers from nature are of greater concern, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimating that around 1,000 tornadoes occur in the US each year, resulting in an average of 70 deaths and 1,500 injuries, most often caused by blunt force trauma.
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To provide some protection from both these dangers, ProTecht has rolled out its bullet resistant Bodyguard Blanket, which the company says complies with Type IIIA of the broadly accepted National Institute of Justice (NIJ) ballistic and stab standards used for law enforcement armor in the US. As such, it can protect against a range of ammunition, including 9mm and .22-caliber bullets, absorbing a significant amount of the bullet's energy by "catching" and deforming the bullet within the layers of the blanket.
ProTecht says it has conducted extensive laboratory tests and estimates the blankets can absorb approximately 490 – 660 joules of energy, or 361 – 486 foot pound of force, whether it be from a bullet or falling or flying debris. They are made from Dyneema, a polyethylene-based material that we've seen before in the ballistic whiteboard, which is also intended to provide protection from bullets in the classroom.
Despite its stopping power, the 0.3-in (7.9 mm) thick blankets are flexible and light enough for a small child to carry. They come in three sizes and also feature straps that make it easy for them to be fastened to the user so they can keep them in place while ducking for cover. To make them – and the user – easier for search and rescue teams to locate, they are bright orange in color.
The Bodyguard Blankets aren't cheap at US$1,000 each, but the company points out they would still be a cheaper option than building dedicated shelters at every school in tornado-prone areas.
At $300, the Ballistic Backpack provides a cheaper alternative, but with less coverage. Well-heeled teachers – if there is such a thing – also have the option of bulletproof suits, including the Diamond Armor and Garrison Bespoke's offering.
A ballistic test of the Bodyguard Blanket can be seen in the following video.