Hurricane myths - from window tape to chain saws

Florida was hit four times last year. That will never happen again in our lifetime.

By Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council
Published May 29, 2005

The chance that Florida will experience four major hurricanes again in one year is remote. The chance that we will experience one or two is very real. And if a major hurricane hits Tampa Bay, it won't matter whether there is only one storm this season. Be prepared.

Hurricanes do not affect inland counties.

Hurricane winds and rain affect large areas. Just ask Polk County residents (hit three times last year) or your neighbors who evacuated to Orlando while trying to escape Hurricane Charley. Inland flooding was a major problem in our region from exiting storms Frances and Jeanne.

There is nothing we can do. If a hurricane comes, it will blow everything away.

Take the time to protect your home, and chances are, your home will suffer far less damage in a hurricane.

Protecting my home is too expensive.

Protection can get expensive, but there are cost-effective options. Hurricane panels and shutters and newly developed screen, mesh and fabric products can protect your home and provide safety for your family. Contact the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes for more information: 1-800-221-7233.

Why should I protect my home? That is what insurance is for.

Insurance is fine, but a house that survives a hurricane is better. If your home survives, your family will be safer, and it will be easier for you to recover. There are still thousands of families in Florida displaced because of the 2004 hurricanes.

I should leave the windows open on one side of my house to reduce the "pressure."

This is an old wives' tale. If you let wind into your house, it's going to have to get out. It will find the weakest link and explode it.

Taping my windows will prevent them from breaking and flying into the house.

Putting masking tape on your windows is a waste of time that should be spent on real protection.

With tie-downs and storm shutters, my mobile home is safe.

Mobile homes - even new ones - cannot withstand more than minimal hurricane winds. Use tie-downs and shutters but have evacuation plans.

I need to buy a chain saw.

If you don't already know how to safely use a chain saw, hurricane cleanup is not the time to try to teach yourself. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more Americans kill or injure themselves after a storm during cleanup than as a direct result of hurricane winds and flooding.

Sources: Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (www.flash.org) National Weather Service, Ruskin