Top Hurricane Myths to Avoid
Avoid these common mistakes to keep your family safe during hurricane season.
Being prepared is the best option for any natural disaster scenario. However, the first step for any emergency plan is to make sure you have the right information. Below is a list of six common hurricane myths to avoid to keep your family out of harm’s way during a hurricane or other severe storm.
1. Windows! Windows! Windows!
Preparing your windows before a storm is one of the most important steps you can take. However, it is also the single biggest source of misinformation. Avoid the following myths, which are not only untrue, but can actually do more harm than good!
- Putting tape over glass will prevent it from breaking in hurricane force winds.
- Cracking open windows will help to equalize pressure inside and outside your house.
- Only windows facing the water need to be protected.
- Leaning against a window or door that is bending can help stop it from breaking.
Remember, the best way to prepare your windows for high winds is to place storm shutters or plywood covers over EVERY piece of exposed glass in your home.
2. I’m too far inland to be affected by a hurricane
Even if you are not right on the coast, a hurricane or tropical storm can pose a serious threat to your home and your family. High winds, flooding rains, and even tornadoes can cause massive damage to areas hundreds of miles away from where the storm makes landfall. Flash flooding is one of the biggest causes of death during a hurricane, so always be careful around deep or moving water.
3. The storm will miss me
Hurricanes and other tropical cyclones are highly unpredictable and can change direction quickly. Never trust that a storm will miss you and never wait until the last minute to get ready. If there is even a slight chance that a hurricane is approaching, it’s much better to be prepared and have the storm miss you than the other way around.
4. The weather is calm right now, so I must be safe
The danger has not always passed when the storm is over. The eye of a hurricane can be over 100 miles across, with little or no rain and clear skies. But the second half of the storm is soon to follow, and it can be even more dangerous than the part before the eye. Listen to the radio for updates from official sources to be sure when it is safe, and always stay in your home until you are told it is okay to come out.
Additionally, flash flooding, broken glass and other debris, and downed power lines can all provide very real dangers after a storm. Be cautious around uprooted trees and damaged structures in the aftermath of a hurricane, and be sure to follow all instructions from local authorities.
5. My insurance policy covers hurricane and flood damage
Most home insurance policies do not typically cover damage from hurricanes or floods. Be sure to read the fine print of your policy, and speak to an agent if you have any questions. Also, don’t wait to act! Many new policies do not kick in until 30 days after you apply for them.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has great resources available on their website. They can help you determine what coverage is right for you, and find a policy at: https://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/
6. It’s okay to use candles if the power goes out
Lighting candles or using open flames in enclosed spaces is a big no-no in the aftermath of a major storm. Gas leaks are a common danger after hurricanes. Always use electric lanterns or flashlights indoors, and be sure to stock up on extra batteries!