5 Common Myths About Hurricane Preparedness (And Why They're Bogus)

Hurricane Sandy is coming quick, and you want to be ready. You've got all your gear, and now it's time to batten down the hatches. But before you do that, there are five common hurricane myths you should know about.

"Taping up windows prevents them from shattering."

No. No it does not. In fact, it can make matters worse. When untaped windows get hit with flying debris, they're liable to shatter into a million tiny pieces. Sure, that sounds bad, but consider the alternative. When taped windows are hit with debris, they still break, but into larger, more menacing, dangerous pieces. These are the shards that could cause really damage to you. So forget the tape; it's just a pain to clean up afterwards anyway.

"You should crack open your windows to stabilize pressure."

This is one that gets tossed around with hurricanes and tornadoes alike. When you're in the middle of either, the last thing you want to do is open your windows because when violent wind gets in, it's going to look for a violent way out. Your windows will be broken from the outside long before your home gets close to any part of the hurricane where the pressure is sufficient to do damage on its own. On top of that, buildings aren't air tight. There are enough little openings all over any building that it'd be very hard to build up enough pressure for anything to explode.

"I only need to board up windows and doors that are facing the water."

If only things were so simple. Hurricanes are moving, rotating storms. You can't just assume that winds will only ever be coming from a single direction. Besides, it's the things that are flying in the wind that pose the most danger to your windows, and small rocks and other debris can easily ricochet. If you're boarding things up, don't cut corners.

"Leaning against a door or window that's being blown in by wind pressure can save it from breaking or shattering."

If your doors or windows are bending to the pressure of the wind, why go charging towards them? Winds that threaten to shatter windows and blow down doors also threaten to break you, especially if the window you're charging at is taped up. Bad news. If your doors or windows are bending to strong winds, get the hell away from them so you don't get hit with something.

"I'm not on the coast, so a hurricane can't possibly hit me."

Hurricanes can make it pretty far inland before they dissipate, and besides that, they have plenty of fallout that can affect those beyond strictly coastal areas. All that rainwater has to go somewhere, so all kinds of rivers and streams can suddenly becomes super overtaxed, which leads inland flooding far from the coast. It may not be the hurricane proper, but it's still serious damage.
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