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Becoming Storm Savvy. Busting Hurricane Myths. Basic Hurricane Information. Pinellas County ’ s Hurricane Guide www.pinellascounty.org/emergency Emergency Management: (727) 464-3800 Front of your telephone white pages www.fema.gov www.floridadisaster.org www.flash.org. What is a myth?.

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Becoming Storm Savvy

Busting Hurricane Myths


Basic hurricane information
Basic Hurricane Information.

  • Pinellas County’s Hurricane Guide

  • www.pinellascounty.org/emergency

  • Emergency Management: (727) 464-3800

  • Front of your telephone white pages

  • www.fema.gov

  • www.floridadisaster.org

  • www.flash.org


What is a myth
What is a myth?

  • myth–noun Origin: Gk mŷthos story

    • a traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some hero or event, and explains some practice, rite, or phenomenon of nature.

    • Any fictitious story or unscientific account, theory, belief, etc.


Why are myths dangerous
Why are myths dangerous?

  • They waste your time

  • They cost you money

  • They make you believe you are safer


The dirty dozen

Window taping

It costs too much

Pressure differences

Total destruction

Vertical evacuation

High winds

Mobile home safety

Countywide evacuation

Public shelters

Evacuation order timing

Government will provide everything

It can’t happen here

The dirty dozen.


Myth my windows are protected i have them taped
Myth: My windows are protected. I have them taped.

  • “Taping my windows is cheap and easy. Besides, everyone I see on TV is taping their windows. It must be a good idea.”


Fact shuttering your windows is the safe thing to do
Fact: Shuttering your windows is the safe thing to do.

  • Tape does nothing to protect windows.

  • Shutter options:

    • Plywood (min. 7/16” required – FL Code)

    • Commercial systems

  • Large missile impact rated windows.


Myth hurricane preparation costs too much
Myth: Hurricane preparation costs too much.

  • “News stories claim assembling a supply kit for a family of four costs more than $500. Who can afford that?”


Fact build your kit without busting your budget
Fact: Build your kit without busting your budget.

  • Inventory supplies already in your home.

  • Buy a little bit each week.

  • Buy only what you will use.


Myth i ll open my window to equalize pressure
Myth: I’ll open my window to equalize pressure.

  • “If I don’t open the windows on the opposite side of my home during a hurricane, the air pressure difference can cause all of the glass in my windows to break.”


Fact keeping wind out of your home is top priority
Fact: Keeping wind out of your home is top priority.

  • It’s not a difference atmospheric pressure that causes failure – it’s debris impact.

  • Wind entering through an opening can pressurize air in the home, exiting through the weakest point.


Myth everything will be destroyed after the big one
Myth: Everything will be destroyed after the ‘Big One’.

  • “No doubt, a hurricane’s massive winds will tear everything apart. Protection is pointless. Besides, I’ll build a new house when I get my insurance check.”


Fact hardening your home can help save it
Fact: Hardening your home can help save it.

  • Repairs are much easier than total rebuilds.

  • You may be able to live in your home if repairs are minor.


Myth when the storm comes i m evacuating up
Myth: When the storm comes, I’m evacuating up.

  • “My unit is on the sixth floor of the building and it has shutters. There’s no way storm surge or wind can get me. I’ll be safe.”


Fact vertical evacuation leaves you stranded
Fact: Vertical evacuation leaves you stranded.

  • Wind speed increases the higher you go.

  • Storm surge can wash out lower levels of your building, preventing access after the storm passes.


Myth hurricane winds can t be worse than thunderstorms
Myth: Hurricane winds can’t be worse than thunderstorms.

  • “We have bad thunderstorms here. Hurricanes aren’t much worse. And, my house was built in 1960, so it must have survived lots of big storms.”


Fact hurricane winds are more powerful than you expect

F = m x v2

Example: 120 mph wind is nine times stronger than a 40 mph wind (3 x 3).

High winds can do serious damage, throwing large missiles.

Last hurricane to hit Pinellas County was in 1921.

Fact: Hurricane winds are more powerful than you expect.


Myth my mobile home is a safe place to ride out a storm
Myth: My mobile home is a safe place to ride out a storm.

  • “I have new tie-downs on my mobile home. It was also built after 1994 to tougher standards.”


Fact never ride out a storm in a mobile home
Fact: NEVER ride out a storm in a mobile home.

  • Older homes not built to withstand high winds.

  • Newer homes rely on tie-downs to resist forces – they can fail.

  • Evacuate when ordered to!


Myth there s no safe place when the big one comes
Myth: There’s no safe place when the ‘Big One’ comes.

  • “Surely, there is a plan to evacuate everyone from Pinellas County when a Category 5 storm is coming.”


Fact there are many safe places to shelter from a storm

Run from water, hide from wind.”

Seek shelter in a well-built structure out of the evacuation zones.

Some areas are less than one mile from the beach to a non-evacuation zone.

Fact: There are many safe places to shelter from a storm.


Myth why have an evacuation plan i m going to a shelter
Myth: Why have an evacuation plan? I’m going to a shelter.

  • “I’ve been told that public shelters provide cots, food and generators. Why not use them? I can also bring my pet with me to a shelter, right?”


Fact public shelters are safer but they are a last resort

Shelters do not provide bedding, can be crowded and dark.

Pets are only allowed at certain shelters.

Stay with a friend or relative instead.

Fact: Public shelters are safer, but they are a last resort.


Myth i ll evacuate when the weather starts to get bad
Myth: I’ll evacuate when the weather starts to get bad.

  • “The sun is shining. It’s a beautiful beach day. Why evacuate now? Besides, I have weather radar on my computer – I’ll evacuate when I’m sure we’ll get hit.”


Fact evacuate when ordered
Fact: Evacuate when ordered.

  • Evacuation orders are issued to protect you when the threat of storm surge exists.

  • Enough time must be provided to clear residents from affected areas.

  • Move quickly but safely.


Myth the government will provide everything i need
Myth: The government will provide everything I need.

  • “I don’t need all those things in my survival kit. When the ‘Big One’ hits, the government will set up relief stations and give me exactly what I need.”


Fact get supplies to last at least 72 hours

First priorities are search and rescue, opening hospitals and restarting basic infrastructure.

Field aid stations will open, but it will take time to get supplies here on damaged roadways and bridges.

Fact: Get supplies to last AT LEAST 72 HOURS.


Myth it can t happen here
Myth: It can and restarting basic infrastructure.’t happen here.

  • “In Pinellas, we’re protected by an ancient Indian blessing/our geography/weather patterns. The storms will never come here.”


Fact it s only a matter of time
Fact: It and restarting basic infrastructure.’s only a matter of time.

  • Major storms form in the Gulf

    • Wilma (882 mb), Camille (902 mb)

  • Tampa Bay area is not immune

    • 1835, 1848, 1852, 1872, 1873, 1887, 1892, 1894, 1899, 1921

  • Close brushes since 1950

    • Easy (1950), Donna (1960), Gladys (1968), Elena (1985), Georges (1998), Charley (2004), Wilma (2005)


Be prepared
Be prepared! and restarting basic infrastructure.

  • Know your evacuation level and evacuate when ordered

  • Build your hurricane survival kit

  • Prepare your home to withstand high winds

  • Monitor the weather daily during the hurricane season


Stay in the know
Stay in the know and restarting basic infrastructure.

  • Weather Alert Radios

    • Fast warning from the local weather office

  • Local Media (Radio, TV, Newspaper)

  • Community Notification System

    • (888) 689-8905 from a cell phone

  • Citizen Information Center (727) 464-4333

  • www.pinellascounty.org/emergency

  • E-Lert - Sign up today


Surviving the Storm: and restarting basic infrastructure.

It’s Everyone’s Responsibility

www.pinellascounty.org (727) 464-3800


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