Most Americans incorrectly believe wind speeds determine hurricane evacuation

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Most Americans incorrectly believe wind speeds determine hurricane


ORLANDO, Fla., April 15, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A national

Harris Interactive Survey commissioned by the nonprofit Federal

Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)@ has revealed some frightening

perceptions regarding hurricane evacuation. The survey found that a

vast majority of Americans, 84 percent, mistakenly base their life or

death evacuation decisions on the hurricane category and/or wind

speed. In fact, hurricane evacuation boundaries are based on the

threat of water, not wind, and nearly all evacuation orders are issued

due to threat of inland flooding and storm surge.

Today at the National Hurricane Conference, FLASH launched #bustamyth,

an initiative to overcome Americans' confusion regarding when to

evacuate in a tropical storm or hurricane and to dispel other

hurricane myths.

"Most people think of wind with a hurricane, but in recent years,

water from storm surge and inland flooding has done the most damage

and killed the most people," said Rick Knabb, Ph.D., Director of

NOAA's National Hurricane Center (NHC). "Families need to find out if

they live in an evacuation zone today, have a plan in place and

immediately follow evacuation orders when issued."

Tropical storms, Category 1 and 2 hurricanes, post-tropical cyclones

and even Nor'easters can all cause life-threatening storm surge. In

2008, Hurricane Ike made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane, bringing

storm surge of 15 to 20 feet above normal tide levels. In 2012,

Tropical Storm Debby produced storm surge of seven feet in the Florida

Panhandle. Often, heavy rains from hurricanes and tropical storms

cause flooding well inland from the initial strike zone.

"People underestimate the force and power of water," said FLASH

President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson. "During Superstorm Sandy,

the Sochacki family of Union Beach, New Jersey lost their home when it

was broken apart and swept out to sea. In the middle of the storm,

they were forced to take shelter in an elevated, concrete home next


FLASH documents stories of survival like the Sochacki family's in its

Tale of Two Homes series in hopes of saving lives and homes in the


New evacuation resources available

Beginning this hurricane season, the NHC will issue an experimental

Potential Storm Surge Flooding Map for areas along the Gulf and

Atlantic coasts of the United States that are at risk of storm surge

from a tropical cyclone. These real-time maps will show areas where

storm surge could occur and how high above ground the water could

reach in those areas. The interactive map will be available at when hurricane or, in some cases, tropical storm,

watches or warnings are in effect.

Additionally, FLASH has compiled available online resources on

evacuation zones and storm surge mapping for the 222 coastal counties,

parishes, and regions from Texas to Maine to help families determine

if they reside in an evacuation zone.

Other myths revealed

The annual Harris Interactive survey tests homeowners' hurricane

beliefs regarding safety and property protection. Some of the other

widely held myths included:

MYTH: It costs more than $10K to make a home stronger against

hurricanes FINDING: 69 percent of Americans believe this to be true

FACT: There are affordable methods and products that minimize damage

and the need for costly repairs, including:

-- Garage doors are often the most vulnerable opening on a home in a

hurricane, but they can be braced for as little as $150

-- Windows and sliding glass doors can be protected from flying debris

with temporary plywood shutters for $275 to $750 or with corrugated

steel or aluminum shutters from $7 to $15 per foot

-- Roof uplift resistance is critical in high wind and it may be

tripled by applying a 1/4 inch bead of APA AFG-01 certified wood

adhesive along the intersection of the roof deck and roof rafter or

truss chord on both sides of the beam

-- Water intrusion through the roof deck joints is a common source of

damage; however, peel and stick water barrier can be applied during

re-roofing for as little as $750

MYTH: Taping windows helps prevent hurricane damage FINDING: 54

percent of Americans believe this to be true FACT: Taping windows

wastes preparation time, does not stop windows from breaking in a

hurricane, and does not make clean-up easier. In fact, taping windows

may create larger shards of glass that could cause serious injuries.

Masking tape, duct tape, window film and specially marketed "hurricane

tape" are insufficient and potentially dangerous. Use tested and

approved hurricane shutters or other opening protection instead.

About the Survey This survey was conducted online within the United

States by Harris Poll on behalf of Salter Mitchell and FLASH from

March 3-5, 2014 among 2,112 adults ages 18 and older. This online

survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate

of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey

methodology, including weighting variables, please contact

About FLASH Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)@, a 501(c)3

nonprofit organization, is the country's leading consumer advocate for

strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and manmade

disasters. FLASH collaborates with more than 100 innovative and

diverse partners that share its vision of making America a more

disaster-resilient nation including: BASF, Federal Emergency

Management Agency, Florida Division of Emergency Management, The Home

Depot@, International Code Council, Kohler@ Generators, National

Weather Service, Portland Cement Association, RenaissanceRe, Simpson

Strong-Tie@, State FarmT, USAA@ and WeatherPredict Consulting Inc. In

2008, FLASH opened the interactive weather experience StormStruck: A

Tale of Two Homes@ in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Learn more about FLASH and

gain access to its free consumer resources by visiting

or calling (877) 221- SAFE (7233). Also, get timely safety tips to

ensure that you and your family are protected from natural and manmade

disasters by subscribing to the FLASH blog - Protect Your Home in a


Photo -

SOURCE Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)

-0- 04/15/2014

/CONTACT: Anna Alexopoulos, Cell 954.647.7059; Trenise Lyons, Cell 305.926.6290


PRN Photo Desk,

/Web Site:

CO: Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)

ST: Florida




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0000 04/15/2014 11:00:00 EDT

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