If you live in hurricane country, you’ve probably heard a lot of advice about protecting your home from these storms. However, not all hurricane preparedness advice is good or accurate. In fact, a lot of “common knowledge” about preparing for hurricanes is inaccurate at best and dangerous at worst.
This hurricane season, it’s time to stop believing false and potentially dangerous myths about how to protect your home from storms. Here are five of the most common myths surrounding home hurricane preparedness and what you should do instead.
Myth #1: Taping Your Windows Prevents Breaks
It’s a common sight in the days before a hurricane hits. Homes in your neighborhood have tape covering their windows, usually in an X shape. The rumor is that this will prevent the windows from breaking due to wind, debris, and rain.
Unfortunately, that’s not true. Tape does not significantly reduce the risk of your windows shattering if something hits them. In fact, taping your windows can actually make them more dangerous if they break. The tape can cause the glass to break into larger pieces, causing more significant injuries if the glass blows into someone.
You have better options if you want to protect your windows in advance. The best solution is to invest in shatter-proof windows whenever possible. If you don’t have the time or budget for that upgrade, you can install storm shutters, board up your windows, or apply safety and security film that will keep the glass from flying if it does break.
Myth #2: You Only Need to Board Windows Facing the Storm
Many people assume that the only windows at risk during a hurricane are the ones that face the storm. However, that’s not true if the storm is heading right at you.
The problem is that hurricanes spin counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere. This means that if you’re directly in the path of the storm, the first wall of the hurricane will batter your house from the east, and the second wall will blow from the west. Furthermore, large objects like homes, trees, and vehicles can cause eddies in the wind, potentially blowing debris at your home from any other direction.
If you’re preparing for a direct hit from a storm, you need to board all of your windows. Take the extra time and reduce the risk that a stray tree branch or other debris will ruin part of your house.
Myth #3: Opening Your Windows Protects Them
Another window-related rumor is that you need to crack your windows to stabilize your home. The myth claims that opening your windows a little allows the wind pressure to blow through your house instead of shattering your windows inwards through sheer force.
However, cracking your windows can cause more problems than it solves. When you open the windows, you allow that wind into your home. It can blow items around your house, carry rainwater inside, and damage your window frames as the force tries to widen the gap. It’s best to board up your windows and leave them closed.
A more significant risk to your home comes from cracks, gaps, and vents leading to the outside. The wind can enter these openings and force pressure into your home, potentially causing your windows to shatter outwards. Take the time before a storm hits to block off vents and make your home airtight to prevent this.
Myth #4: Roofs Are the Most Vulnerable Part of the Home
After a hurricane blows through, news outlets often post hundreds of pictures of homes whose roofs are damaged or missing entirely. This has led many people to assume the roof is the single most vulnerable part of their home. However, the actual weakest part of most homes is the garage door.
In hurricane country, roofs are often designed to direct wind up and over the home. Unless winds get extremely strong, they are unlikely to tear off a roof without assistance. However, garage doors are often overlooked.
If your garage door fails, the wind suddenly has a path to blow directly into the garage. This allows the wind to surge into that space and potentially lift the roof off of the structure entirely. Investing in a hurricane-rated garage door can reduce the damage to your garage and home overall.
Myth #5: Wind Is the Biggest Hurricane Danger
The wind is undoubtedly the most dramatic danger in major hurricanes, but it’s not the most dangerous. Water from storm surges is significantly more damaging and deadly. According to the National Hurricane Center, 88% of all deaths due to hurricanes, tropical cyclones, and tropical storms are caused by water.
Storm surges are caused by the winds of the storm pushing water from the ocean onto the shore. A storm surge can be as much as 20 feet tall in Category 5 storms. As such, protecting yourself and your home from water is one of the most important things you can do in the days before a hurricane.
If you’re close to the shore, you may not be able to do much to protect your property from water damage. You can sandbag your doors, but that won’t make a difference if the water comes up to your windows. The best thing you can do in this situation is to get hurricane and flood insurance to cover the cost of repairing the damage.
Get Help After the Hurricane Hits
At a certain point, you can’t do anything more to protect your home before a hurricane. That’s when it’s time to shelter through the storm or evacuate until it’s safe to return. Once the storm is passed, you can examine your property, catalog the damage, and file a home insurance claim to cover the necessary repairs. If you’re struggling to get your insurance company to cover the damage caused by the storm, the Professional Law Group can help. Our expert insurance attorneys will work with you to fight denied claims and appeal underpayments. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help you recover after your home has been damaged by a hurricane.