A version of the story originally was published by the Miami Herald on Sept. 7, 2017.
Hurricane Florence is a bad mother. But you’ve done your due diligence in the event the storm makes landfall in the Carolinas as a Category 4 or 5 storm. You have your shutters up. You took in anything that could become a projectile in the winds. Your pantry is stocked.
Now don’t be a fool and get yourself hurt or killed doing stupid things during and after the storm. Here’s your lucky seven tips on getting through Florence intact.
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1. Don’t X the windows with tape
Are you still taping your windows? Do you drive with your blinkers on during the rain, too?
When you run tape over your windows, you aren’t making them stronger. Rather, should they be pummeled by flying debris and still break, they will do so as larger, potentially deadly pieces, according to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Better to have a window break into small pieces that won’t cause potential great bodily harm.
Plus, you’ll have cleanup to do anyway. Sun-baked tape on a window is a bear to remove.
2. Don’t crack open the windows to relieve pressure
Some people think it’s a good idea to crack open a window to relieve the pressure inside the house lest the dwelling explode from within. Given that all of our homes have little openings here and there, it’s highly unlikely a hurricane will build up enough pressure inside to blow, according to Gizmodo.
If you willingly open a window to let the wicked wind in you’re not going to like the result when said wind tries to escape.
3. Water isn’t your only enemy — it’s the wind, too
When you scrimp on money, or personal energy, and only board or shutter the windows that face a body of water, you’re making a mistake.
Hurricanes move and rotate — as do the tornadoes they often spawn — so don’t assume the winds will come from one direction. Windows are most susceptible to the flying debris like rocks or the patio furniture your infuriating neighbor left out on his balcony. Board up and go all the way.
4. Don’t push back on a bowing door or window
Despite your best efforts, a powerful storm like Florence could lead to the surreal visual of your doors and windows bending to the pressure. They may or may not hold.
But you aren’t going to help them by pushing back or leaning against them, no matter how much you weigh. If the doors or windows blow in, your flesh and blood is no match.
And if you’re doing this, you probably taped your windows so read No. 1 again.
5. Use flashlights, not candles.
Sure, candles set a romantic mood — or foreboding if that’s your thing (been watching too much “Game of Thrones”). But candles tip or get knocked down and can start fires. Flashlights are much safer.
And you did buy enough batteries, right?
6. Stay inside unless you must venture out
Yep, cabin fever has probably already set in as you walk around your shuttered home. But if you can stay in a little longer after Florence departs you’ll be better off. Downed trees and power lines can be dangerous if you blindly stumble into them.
Drive only if you have to as roads without stop lights and strewn with debris, or under water, can be deadly.
7. Don’t run a generator if your windows are open.
Do not run a generator from inside your house or garage — even if you have the doors and windows open. Fire hazard. 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. And if you have a gas stove, keep the generator far from the kitchen or gas water heater or gas powered washer/dryers.
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. And never connect the generator to your home’s wiring system, fuse box or circuit breaker unless you have already had a qualified electrician install a transfer switch. If not correctly connected, the power can flow outside the house to the power lines and fatally injure workers who are there trying to restore power to everyone.