Why you shouldn't put tape on your windows during a hurricane like Irma

HarveyGetty ImagesLarry Koser Jr. (L) and his son Matthew look for important papers and heirlooms inside Larry Koser Sr.’s house after it was flooded by heavy rains from Hurricane Harvey August 29, 2017 in the Bear Creek neighbourhood of west Houston, Texas.

The fourth hurricane of 2017, Irma
, is heading toward the US, and officials in Florida are asking residents to be prepared to evacuate as it approaches. As of Friday afternoon, Irma had slammed into several Caribbean islands as a Category 5 storm, killing at least 23 people.

Although the storm’s exact path is not yet know, some meteorologists have said it’s possible it could hit Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Alabama this weekend.

In these states, residents are doing their best to prepare their homes to mitigate flood and wind damage, like securing rain gutters, clearing clogged drains, installing sump pumps, unplugging appliances, and reinforcing doors and windows.

According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), there is one thing you shouldn’t do, however: Apply duct tape to glass windows.

Now a Category 4 storm, Irma has sustained wind speeds of 150 mph, with the potential to make homes unlivable for months. If extreme winds bust through windows with tape, it could cause the glass to break into larger, deadlier shards.

The best DIY alternative is boarding up your windows with plywood (preferably at least 5/8 inch thick) and caulking the perimeters to help keep out water. And though these are not a last-minute solution, you could also invest in wind-resistant windows or pull-down storm shutters, which need to be retro-fitted ahead of time.

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