Last year, the U.S. experienced one of its deadliest hurricane seasons since 1900—reminding us of the importance of emergency preparedness and response. Unfortunately, there are still many old wives tales about hurricane safety that, if followed, can be more dangerous than helpful. That’s why our experts are separating myth from fact to help prevent property damage and loss of life this hurricane season:

Wind is the most dangerous hurricane element: While wind speed and hurricane categories are often the focus of public attention during storms, the real threat is water, storm surge and subsequent flooding. A recent study from the National Hurricane Center reported 76% of hurricane fatalities were caused by storm surge and rain, while 8% were caused by wind.

Open windows during the storm: This myth is based on the common belief that pressure can build up in homes or offices during storms, eventually leading to complete structural failure. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), no structure is fully airtight so over-pressurization to this degree is impossible. Cracking windows will only allow the entry of water and debris.

Creating a disaster kit is more trouble than it’s worth: Contrary to popular opinion, it is easy and affordable to create a basic disaster kit for your home or office. Visit for a full checklist of items you should include.

Tape windows: The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes reported 54% of Americans believe taping windows during hurricanes will prevent breakage. However, this can actually cause glass to break in large, heavy chunks—creating a significant safety hazard. Instead, individuals are advised to board up windows or install hurricane shutters.

Once a hurricane has passed, the danger is over: Unfortunately, this is one of the most common and dangerous hurricane myths. After a storm, residents should always remain on the lookout for downed power lines, contaminated floodwater, mold and other environmental hazards, rising flood waters, and many other factors. These too can cause injury or death.

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