Posted: 3:17 pm Wednesday, March 28th, 2012
By Eliot Kleinberg
Posted 3:20 p.m., March 28, 2012
ORLANDO — Two decades after Andrew, you’d think no one was foolish enough to still stretch masking tape or duct tape across windows in advance of a tropical storm or hurricane.
But a new survey says that, remarkably, nearly seven in 10 still do. This despite years of advice that it doesn’t work and actually makes things worse.
Reporting from the National Hurricane Conference
In the survey, commissioned by the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes and done at the end of January, 67 percent said they believe taping helps.
The number was highest in the Midwest and West, which don’t usually deal with hurricanes, and was 63 percent in the Northeast, site of Hurricane Irene’s 2011 onslaught on rarely-threatened areas.
In the South, where people presumably would know better, it still was 58 percent.
“FLASH is determined to bust the dangerous window taping myth,” the organization said in a release at the National Hurricane Conference.
“I first heard that tape was good somewhere in the 1970s,” National Hurricane Center director Bill Read said at Tuesday’s opening session of the hurricane conference. “It persists today.”
And Read noted that a taped window, instead of shattering into a bunch of pieces, can break into jagged daggers.
“You start bleeding in the middle of a hurricane, you call for help, what’s going to happen?” Read asked. Likely nothing, he added, with responders either overwhelmed or unable to go out in the storm.
Asked what he’d say to people who tape windows, Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Craig Fugate replied, “I’d shoot 2-by-4s through their windows. With an air cannon. I’d say, ‘Did the tape stop that?’”
Fugate, a former Florida emergency management director, added, “it isn’t stopping the trash can. It’s not stopping your neighbor’s mailbox. And that roof tile is going to turn to shrapnel. How’s your tape going to stop that?”
Taping windows reduces shatter and makes cleanup easier and is better than doing nothing.
Taping has no value, creates a false sense of security, and wastes valuable preparation time.
Tape will do nothing against missiles.
While windows might normally shatter into small pieces, taping can create large, deadly daggers of glass.
Tape glue is very hard to get off after it’s baked on the glass.
SOURCE: Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Palm Beach Post archives