Let's start by busting a myth: It does not protect your windows.
At best, it's an inconvenience.
At worst, some people have the illusion that they're safe ... and people can get severely hurt.
We're referring to placing tape on your windows in advance of a hurricane. Somewhere, sometime, many years ago, this practice became a staple across the Gulf States region during hurricane season. Studies have been conducted throughout the years that disprove this practice which does nothing to protect your home.
The shards can become bigger because they're being held together. You're wasting your time. You're wasting your money and you're potentially increasing the danger in your home.
These emergency preparedness misconceptions are common, says Tangipahoa Parish President Gordon Burgess, a veteran of hurricanes and extreme weather events.
"In an emergency situation, the number one thing you can do is to keep your head and know your game plan," Burgess said.
That's why parish officials are starting now--almost two months ahead of the official start of hurricane season--to help residents and local businesses develop their own preparedness plan and personal emergency kits.
Tangipahoa Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director Dawson Primes explains, "What we in Emergency Preparedness are on a mission to do is to harvest that same passion and habits for preparedness, but for useful practices such as creating an emergency kit, developing an evacuation plan for your family, and buying and maintaining a generator."
Primes, a military veteran and head of Tangipahoa's emergency preparation efforts since Katrina, says getting a game plan together is an everyday project, not just a seasonal event.
"Let's make doing some or all of these things common place," Primes said, adding that his office often hears from residents who want to know what role OHSEP plays outside hurricane season.
"Rest assured that Parish Government prepares 365 days a year and stands ready to respond to any event that should arise. One of the most important things that we do is Public Education about Self Preparedness," Primes said.
Burgess adds, "The question we would like to hear everyone ask is 'What else can I do to protect me and my family?' and 'Is there some way I could volunteer to help my community in a disaster?'"
The answer to the first question is that preparedness is an ongoing process.
Primes said, "You are never 100% prepared. Citizens should be diligent in reassessing their preparedness level on a continuous basis and doing whatever it takes to fill in the gaps. As Mr. Burgess always says, 'If you think you're going to need it, GET IT!'"
Burgess adds, "The absolute best thing citizens can do is stay informed." To that end, parish officials post updates on approaching weather events and road closures on their website, www.tangipahoa.org, and they continue to make news releases available through the local newspapers, TV, and radio stations.
The parish also offers an emergency preparedness weather button you can download directly to your home computer. That tool is available on the TangiSafe.com website, which is operated by Tangipahoa OSHEP.
Primes said as for volunteering in a disaster, "The answer is yes! There are many organizations that that citizens can volunteer their time to help during a disaster. But, it's just like self preparedness, you need to sign up now, become trained and stay active with these organizations."
Burgess said Tangipahoa Parish Government sponsors a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program where everyday residents train to assist during emergencies.
Primes notes, "Also, The American Red Cross is a great agency to volunteer. They, too, train citizens and utilize them during emergency events."
"Together, we can create a culture of preparedness, and unlike the tape on the windows for hurricane season, we can do some good and decrease our vulnerability to hurricanes as well as any other weather hazards," Burgess said.
Don't Be A Victim, Get Prepared and Stay Prepared!
For information on the CERT program, creating an Emergency Kit or advice on being better prepared for not only Hurricane season, but for any event, please visit our website at www.tangisafe.com