Common Myths About Hurricane Preparedness

Common Myths About Hurricane Preparedness

Now that we are a week into the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season, I thought it might be a good idea to share some important things you should know about being prepared this season.  Although it is referred to as Hurricane Season, not every storm Floridians need to concern themselves with will be a genuine hurricane.  Many storms of a tropical nature are bound to affect our state this season and being prepared for each eventuality is just as important regardless of the intensity or severity of the the storm. Here are some important things to know by way of common myths:

  1. Taping your windows is the best way to prevent them from shattering during a hurricane.  Fact: Tape cannot withstand flying debris caused by hurricane-force winds. Plus, it is unbearable to remove when the storm is over.  The most effective way to protect your home from wind damage and penetrating wind is to use approved storm shutters.  If you do not have storm shutters, plywood works well provided it is securely installed.  

  2. It's "only" a tropical storm, or we won't get hit directly.  Fact: Tropical storms and tropical depressions still pose a serious hazard. They often generate widespread, torrential rains can cause deadly flash or long term flooding, power outages and more.  Have you ever stood outside in a wind of 35 mph?  It isn't easy to keep your balance, and even if you could, you would just be a target for flying debris such as roof tiles, tree limbs or anything else loose the wind can pick up and throw.  Also, it isn't necessarily the size of the storm or its whether you get hit directly.  Storms can cover hundreds of miles and be just as damaging away from the center as near.

  3. Before a storm, fill bathtubs and sinks to use as drinking water reserve in case the power goes out.  Fact: storing water in bathtubs is good because you can use it to flush toilets, but that is the extent of what you would safely want to use it for.  For safe drinking and cooking water, stock up on 5 gallon bottles of water well in advance.  Some people prefer to stock up on the smaller bottles, and that is fine.  Just be sure to keep sufficient supplies of water for each person and pet in your family for up to 5 days.  Don't forget that after and during even the smallest of storms, you may not be able to get to an open market for at least 24 to 48 hours or more.

  4. Crack your windows open to stabilize pressure during a hurricane.  Fact: This is one of the worst things you can do in a tropical storm situation.  Although the pressure does drop outside, it isn't sufficient to cause your home to explode so letting any amount of wind in to your home only increases the risk of having other windows blown out from the inside or worse having your roof blown out. All homes are generally constructed with enough small openings to prevent pressure from causing anything to explode.

  5. Use sandbags to prevents water from entering your home. Fact: While sandbags can redirect water away from your home, they won't completely protect you from water intrusion as a result of rising water.  If you do plan to use sandbags as a form of water mitigation, don't over fill them and don't stack them more than three layers high.  Chances are if you are even thinking about needing sandbags your property is too low for them to do any good.  

  6. I only need to board up windows and doors that are facing the water.  Fact:  Tropical storms and Hurricanes are dynamic storms that move in a rotating motion.  You can't rely on the assumption that storm force winds will only come from one direction, particularly if your property is close to the center of the storm.  As one famous comedian, Ron White once said, it's not that the wind is blowing; It's what the wind is blowing you have to be concerned with.  Objects that become missles in the wind can easily bounce off a neighboring property into one of your unprotected windows or doors.  

  7. Leaning against a door or window that's being blown in by wind pressure can save it from breaking or shattering.   Fact:  It is not uncommon for your doors and windows to bend to the pressure of the wind.  If you have newer hurricane resistant type glass and doors, there probably isn't much you need to worry about.  If your home is older and isn't protected by the newer technology windows and doors, it sure doesn't make a lot of sense to put yourself at risk of being hurt by a blown in door or shattering glass shards.  The safest thing to do is have your windows boarded up and then to stay as far away from any windows and doors, period!  

  8. I'm not on the coast, so a hurricane can't possibly hit me.  Fact: Hurricanes can travel very far inland before dissipating.  In addition, the remnants of tropical storms and hurricanes can be just as damaging or dangerous.  Hurricane preparation is important no matter where you live in Florida.  On this same point, there are many people who think it is safer to evacuate inland when a storm approaches. Many who have done this in the past often find themselves in more danger than if they had stayed put.  You should only evacuate if you are in a mandatory or recommended evacuation area.   Stay tuned for part 2 of how to prepare for hurricanes....

Stephen Snow Headshot
Phone: 561-291-1783
Dated: June 8th 2016
Views: 749
About Stephen: ...

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