In South Florida, we know the threat of hurricanes all too well. It’s important to be prepared before, during and after a storm. It’s also important to prepare for things that could happen during a storm if you’re at home riding it out. For example, there’s a chance that a window in your home could break during the storm. Here are the steps to take in this situation to minimize damage and keep your family safe

Prepping for a hurricane

First, be sure to check and follow any evacuation orders. Low-lying or coastal areas are often the first to be evacuated. Even if you feel secure about the integrity of your home and have taken additional steps like installing heavy-duty impact windows, it’s crucial to listen to the authorities.

If you aren’t required to leave and have elected to ride out the storm, stock up on nonperishable food, water, and batteries. Be sure to secure all external windows and doors, install hurricane shutters if you have them, and trim all shrubs, trees, and bushes. Finally, take photos of your home from all angles in case you need them for insurance purposes later.

Should you crack your windows during a hurricane?

Despite available evidence to the contrary, two myths persist when it comes to pre-hurricane window prep. You should never put tape on your window to prevent shattering, and never leave the windows cracked to stabilize air pressure. Taping windows does not prevent shattering or breaking, and just makes the shards of glass flying around larger and more dangerous. Leaving a window slightly open serves to destroy the home from the inside. When a hurricane-force wind enters the home, it also needs a way to exit. The best way to prevent broken windows in a storm is to install hurricane-resistant impact glass windows and doors. These doors are missile tested for strength and can withstand the strongest hurricane-force winds.

Dangers of broken windows in hurricane

Broken windows are a huge risk in a storm. In addition to the glass shattering, and exposure to flooding and projectile objects, broken windows destabilize the pressure in the home and can cause walls or roofs to collapse. 

What to do if a window breaks during a hurricane

  • Move your family to another room. A broken window is very dangerous during a severe storm. Not only is the room at risk for flooding and more damage, but people can be severely injured or killed by flying shattered glass. During a hurricane, the safest place to be is in a room with no windows. If a window breaks, move your loved ones immediately and shut the door to the room with the broken window. 
  • Consider a quick fix if you catch a break. If the winds have died down, consider securing a piece of cardboard over the window opening. This won’t be a long-term solution, but can help minimize damage. If you do enter the room, pay close attention to the winds outside. The eye of the storm creates a short lull before whipping up again as the hurricane passes over. If winds pick up again before you’re done, leave the room without finishing.
  • After the storm. If you weren’t able to clean up or put any temporary protection in place, you can do that now. Be sure to wear gloves while you’re cleaning up. Once the storm is over, you can take pictures for the home insurance company and call to schedule the repair.  Better yet, consider replacing your traditional windows with hurricane-resistant impact windows that are tested against winds up to 150 mph.

Hurricanes can be scary, and even more so if a window breaks while you’re home during the storm. Staying safe should always be your first priority, and repairing the window comes second. If you are interested in installing missile-tested impact windows, give us a call for a free estimate.