Taping My Windows Will Save Me! And Other Hurricane Prep Myths Debunked

Sep 5, 2017

We're nearly two months into the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. And if you’ve lived in South Florida for any length of time, you’ve probably become accustomed to hearing advice from friends and family on how to prepare.

Unfortunately, along with the GOOD advice, some popular misconceptions are carried over from one hurricane season to another.

WLRN's Christine DiMattei reached out to Bryan Koon, director of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management, to help us dispel some common hurricane preparation myths. Here are his answers. 

MYTH: If I tape a huge ‘X’ on my windows with black electrician’s tape, they won’t shatter.

A myth. In fact, doing so creates a dangerous situation. Tape will not stop wind-borne missiles from breaking that window.  In fact, it creates large chunks of glass that can become deadly projectiles. People have actually been killed after standing behind taped windows.

Use shutters or plywood to secure windows.

MYTH: Always crack a window or door open during a hurricane to keep your house from imploding due to increased pressure

Bad idea. You never want to create openings in your home to allow water and wind to destroy your property.

MYTH: The greatest threat I face during a hurricane is that my roof will blow off 

Not very likely.  With Florida’s strong building codes, the likelihood is that your roof (and therefore, the rest of your home) will be OK. In fact, the greatest threat we face from hurricanes is not wind but water – either in the form of storm surge or from rainfall or flooding as a result of the storm.

MYTH: I live inland, so I won’t be hit hard at all

Nope, sorry. Inland areas in Florida can get tremendous amounts of rain -- which can lead to tremendous flooding. In addition, hurricanes can spawn tornadoes, which can happen anywhere. Everybody in Florida – regardless of whether or not they can see the ocean from their house – needs to pay attention when a storm is approaching.

MYTH: I’m on one of the upper floors of my apartment building. So I’m safer than down there on the ground

Half-true. You won’t be near storm surge if you’re not on the ground floor.  But the higher the elevation, the higher the wind speed – and there’s still a risk of shattered windows and property damage.

This story was originally published on July 20, 2017.