Go Tapeless This Hurricane Season

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A survey commissioned by the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH®) and conducted online by Harris Interactive during the period of January 25-27, 2012 found that nearly seven out of 10 homeowners still think that windows and glass doors should be taped in preparation for a hurricane. Masking tape, duct tape, window film and specially marketed “hurricane tape” are insufficient and potentially dangerous substitutions for tested and approved hurricane shutters, impact-resistant windows or properly installed temporary, emergency plywood shutters.

FLASH is determined to bust the dangerous window taping myth and is encouraging Americans to Go Tapeless this hurricane season as a part of its hurricane preparedness initiative, the Great Hurricane Blowout (Blowout). 

Ideal family and home protection follows when all windows and openings (entry doors, garage doors, gable end vents, etc.) are covered with tested and approved impact-resistant coverings or constructed of impact-resistant materials. Even installing plywood shutters can be a reliable temporary option in an emergency. But make no mistake – taping is not adequate to provide hurricane protection.

Today’s marketplace is full of tested and approved methods and products to protect families and homes from hurricanes. Yet just last year, Hurricane Irene provided stark evidence that too many homeowners are clinging to a belief that masking tape on glass is a good preparedness activity. The only thing worse than no hurricane protection is the wrong hurricane protection, and that is why we are launching Go Tapeless all across America today.

This new element of the Blowout, a first-of-its-kind hurricane preparedness campaign launched by FLASH in 2010, will educate families about the risks of taping up in advance of a storm and provide the necessary resources to help them prepare. By joining the Blowout, families can learn about the best methods to protect their homes and families. They can also pledge to join the ranks of “Tapeless” Americans this hurricane season.

Families can visit www.greathurricaneblowout.org to learn – before the first storm arrives – how preparedness will allow them to “breathe easy” knowing that they are ready for hurricane season. Presented by FLASH and sponsored by Kohler Power Systems and State Farm®, the Blowout encourages the use of proven hurricane mitigation tools to make homes strong and families safe. Beginning June 1, families can enter to win a Kohler standby home generator.  Families can visit the Blowout on Facebook (facebook.com/ghblowout) and Twitter (@ghblowout) for ongoing contests, prizes and up-to-the-moment news.

“Give an Ordinary Room an Extraordinary Purpose” to Protect from Deadly Night-Falling Tornadoes

The severe weather outbreak this past week reminds us that southeastern states have a deadly track record of night-falling tornadoes.  Recent studies indicate nocturnal tornadoes make up more than 41 percent of all tornado events in the region, and are they’re two-and-a-half times as deadly as tornadoes that occur during the daytime.

During the evening hours, visibility is lower, warning times alerting residents of the need to take shelter are reduced, and residents are more likely to be in vulnerable structures like private residences and mobile homes, without a designated safe haven.

With the tornado season just beginning, it’s important for families to think about their options for protecting themselves from a tornado. Having a nearby, safe space where a family can ride out a tornado can mean the difference between life and death. We use our closets and bathrooms every day, but one that is also designed to serve as a high-wind safe room is not just useful, it can literally save your life if disaster strikes.

That’s why FLASH is urging families, builders and emergency responders to visit www.highwindsaferooms.org, and“Give an Ordinary Room an Extraordinary Purpose” by building or retrofitting bathrooms, closets, wine cellars or other rooms with a tornado safe room. The website also provides a cost calculator, animation, and links to important safety and structural details.

For families currently rebuilding after a storm or are in the planning stages of a new build or renovation project of an appropriate room such as an interior bathroom or walk-in closet, it is a perfect time to consider the installation of a tornado safe room. Tornado safe rooms, or shelters, built using the International Code Council/National Storm Shelter Association 500 standard or FEMA 320/361 guidance, can provide the ultimate life safety protection from severe winds.

To watch a video on the proper construction and installation of a safe room, click here and then click “Tornadoes.”