Ignore the myths

Published August 28, 2006


Here are some important things NOT to do:

Do not crisscross your windows with masking tape. It's a waste of time that you could spend doing something that might actually protect your home. Tape does not protect your windows.

Do not park your car inside your garage with the front touching the door to keep it from collapsing. (And don't park a second car outside nose-to-nose with the car inside.) It doesn't work. You want to protect your garage door? Reinforce it with struts and long-stemmed rollers and add brackets to hold the track to the wall. Or get a hurricane-rated door.

Do not drill four holes in the center of the plywood panels you put over your windows. All this does is give high winds a way to get at your windows.

Do not open the windows on what you perceive to be the "wind" side during the storm. This is bad advice for several reasons: (a) The wind comes from all directions; there is no "wind" side. (b) You want to keep the wind out of the house, period. There is no circumstance under which letting 150 mph winds inside your house is a good idea. (c) At the height of the storm you ought to be in a protected room, not running around the house opening windows.

Do not protect only the windows and doors facing the ocean. You need protection on all sides. Wind comes from any direction or angle and may quickly change direction.

Do not count on the government to rescue you during a storm. So evacuate when you're told to. Emergency-management directors say every year that they won't send rescue workers into life-threatening situations as a hurricane makes landfall. The more complicated your rescue (you're elderly or disabled, or you require complicated medical equipment), the sooner you need to leave.