Hurricane Myths in Southwest Florida
We’ve all heard of some quick and easy remedies for protecting our homes during hurricane season, but how many of them actually work?
Here are some common hurricane myths and how they can actually do more harm than good:
1. Putting masking tape or window film over windows will prevent window damage and protect my home during a hurricane.
False. Putting tape over your windows may prevent the glass from shattering into small pieces inside your home but the glass can shatter regardless. Only impact-resistant coverings can fully protect your home during a windstorm.
2. Cracking open windows will allow wind pressure inside to equal the pressure outside.
False. Not only will leaving your windows open get the inside of your home wet, but it is also dangerous. Experts agree it’s important to prevent wind from entering your home and creating something called internal pressurization. For the most protection, keep all windows or doors sealed during a storm.
3. You only need to protect windows and doors facing the ocean.
False. All windows and doors need to be covered by impact-resistant shutters or 5/8-inch plywood. Wind can come from all directions and can change direction unexpectedly, and leaving any opening uncovered can put your family and home in harm’s way.
4. If the power goes out, you should light candles.
False. Never use candles, gas or oil lanterns indoors during a hurricane. You can risk causing a fire or ignition. If a fire starts during a hurricane, firefighters will be less likely to respond in a timely manner, and you can risk serious damage to your home. Without proper ventilation, lighting candles can put your family at a higher risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Only use battery-powered flashlights if the power goes out.
5. Once a hurricane passes, life returns to normal.
Depending on the severity of the storm and the damage, it could take days, weeks or even months before the power comes back. The strongest winds may have died down, but tornadoes, rain, and flooding can occur after a hurricane. It’s important to have enough supplies to last at least a month after a storm.
6. Water stored in bathtubs/sinks can be used as drinking water.
False. Water stored in bathtubs and sinks should never be ingested. Lead from the bathtub can get into the water over time, making them unsafe for drinking. They should only be used for cleaning purposes.
7. You can go outside during the eye of the hurricane.
False. Due to the light winds, people think it’s safe to go outside during the eye of a storm. There is no way to tell how long these winds will last. Strong winds can return quickly from different directions. Outside wreckage, like down power lines, can pose an additional danger. The safest thing to do is to stay indoors, no matter how calm it looks outside.