Prepare for Hurricanes – But 8 Things to Never Do

MIAMI – One of the worst feelings after a hurricane passes through your neighborhood is the feeling of regret.

If only I had properly secured my windows. If only I had organized my important papers and documents where I could find them fast. ya

If only ….

Don’t be an if only person.

Hurricane things you shouldn’t regret – or do

1. X-ing the windows with tape

Every year, for decades, hurricane experts have been advising against taping windows to “strengthen them” ahead of a pending storm.

When you slap tape over your windows, you aren’t making them stronger. Unless they are hurricane-rated windows, when flying debris stirred up by winds that can be in the triple digits smashes against a regular window, it’s going to break. Tape may keep the glass from spraying inward in a shower of little pieces. But would you rather be blasted by tiny pieces – which’ll really hurt – or beheaded or stabbed in the heart by a large shard with tape dangling off of it?

Plus, after the storm, that tape is going to have to come off if everything’s intact. Trust us, because we ignored this advice back in 1979 when Hurricane David threatened, but danced away from, Miami. Getting sunbaked adhesive off of a window is way harder than putting it on.

Instead, secure the windows with shutters, if you have them. Or put up plywood. Consider hurricane-rated windows (pricey, but if you’ve the means, a relief). Also, give windows a fighting chance by removing loose objects from your yard and trimming trees (the latter, ideally before hurricane season and not the day of a Tropical Storm Warning) and check the seals on your windows ahead of time to reduce water seepage into your home, suggests Paul Ryan Windows.

2. Cracking open a window to relieve pressure

Some people think it’s a good idea to crack open a window to relieve the pressure inside the house to keep it from expanding like a balloon and blowing up like Dr. Kananga, the bad guy in the old James Bond flick “Live and Let Die.” Homes don’t blow up from internal pressure during a hurricane. Rather, once wind gains entrance it can streak upward and push your roof off the foundation, making it appear as if the house blew up from internal pressure, according to Inverse.

Don’t let the wind gain entrance to your home. Just don’t do it. Protect all sides of your house if you can.

3. Using your body to brace doors and windows

Those who have been through major hurricanes may tell you of the surreal visual of watching their doors and windows bending to the pressure from the winds. In many cases they held, believe it or not. But at this point you aren’t your window’s best ally. Don’t buoy them with your body. You’re no match for nature’s fury. Get into another room, preferably a windowless room, instead.

4. Using candles

5. Procrastinating

Speaking of buying batteries, don’t wait until a tropical storm or hurricane is on the news and heading in your direction to rush to the supermarket to buy supplies, like water, batteries, medicines, pet food.

Hurricane preparedness should start ahead of storms.

Reduce the stress of standing in long lines and the stress of not finding what you need. You’ve heard of infant formula shortages and even shortages of canned cat food, judging by the empty shelves at our neighborhood Publix?

Shop ahead of time. And if you have insurance on your home and flood insurance, make sure ahead of time that your policies are current and that you have sufficient coverage for hurricane season. And be organized. Have important documents like these and others in a grab-and-go spot you know of ahead of time.

6. Going outside too soon

Cabin fever in a shuttered home is a bore. Getting hurt is worse. Once a storm has passed, downed trees and power lines can be dangerous if you stumble into them. So be careful.

Avoid the temptation to venture outdoors during the calm in the eye of the storm, the National Hurricane Center warns. We know you want to take selfies and socialize and see what just happened – but wait until meteorologists inform that the storm is really over in your area. That lull is deceptive and even stronger winds can quickly resume.

“Take shelter immediately as winds will increase rapidly and unpredictably after the eye passes,” the hurricane center warned storm-tossed people in the Abacos who went outside to take photos and videos in the eye of the storm during Dorian in 2019.

Drive only if you have to because roads without stoplights and covered with debris or water, can be deadly. Our drivers, even in nice weather, are, well, not the best.

7. Running a generator inside

Do not run a generator from inside your house or garage – even if you have the doors and windows open, Miami-Dade County officials counsel. Fire hazard. And you expose yourself to dying from carbon monoxide poisoning.

The same warning applies to running it from your balcony when you live in a multi-unit building like an apartment or town house. Balconies are too close to your own living areas and to your neighbors’ homes.

Also, never run a generator on grass or on a metal surface. Make sure the surface is dry before starting your generator, and keep your hands dry, too.

8. Not evacuating if told to do so

If there is a mandatory evacuation order where you live, make plans ahead of time so you know where to go – and get out when the getting’s good. If you have pets and are considering a shelter, make sure you find one that allows pets, or have a pet plan ahead of time, suggests Florida Disaster.Org, a division of emergency management.

Note: Public safety officials will not risk their lives to respond to emergency calls in mandatory evacuation zones during the storm so you can be on your own for 72 hours after a storm, warns the Weather Channel.

© 2022 Miami Herald. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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