Red Cross issues warning over taped windows

| 24/06/2013

Hurricane_tape_on_windows_myth_20120402015710_320_240.JPG(CNS): The Red Cross is urging local residents not to tape windows during any storm warnings that might occur this season as part of their hurricane preparedness. Encouraging people to take meaningful steps to prepare and protect themselves, the local arm of the international non-governmental organisation warned that while masking or and duct tape may be an important element in a disaster supply and recovery kit, they are absolutely useless in making windows and glass doors “safer” during a storm. To emphasise this, the charity has begun a “Go Tapeless” summer campaign locally to raise awareness of the folly of taping windows.

“This is a terrible myth that has cost lives for far too long,” explained the CIRC Disaster Manager, Danielle Coleman. “The idea behind it is that putting tape — be it masking or duct — on the window or glass door will somehow make it 'safer' because it will reduce shatter. This is false. Putting tape on windows and glass doors not only gives people a false sense of security, but can increase the risk of accidents and fatalities because the shards of glass will likely be much larger,” she warned.

The “Go Tapeless” campaign, which was created by the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes in the United States, was launched at the National Hurricane Conference in Orlando last year.

“It’s a brilliant campaign, and one that remains timeless until such time as this practice has been all but eradicated from our practice and consciousness,” Coleman said. “Tape continues to be an important component of pre and post disaster kits, but it’s important that people also understand the limitations of some of these tools. The CIRC is more than happy to assist those who have questions on how to build a disaster kit, or create a family disaster plan, and our services are free of cost and open to all residents of our Islands."

For more information on how to create a disaster kit or family emergency plan, contact the Cayman Islands Red Cross on 949-6785 ext. 22 or

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Local News

About the Author ()

Comments (22)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Liability restricts employees from evacuating to local office towers in George Town, as hundreds did during Ivan.  The Red Cross shelter was itself inundated with wind and water.  How many additional public Cat-5 certified hurricane shelters have been erected on Grand Cayman in the nine years since that notorious test to accomodate the thousands more we will need to keep safe?   Perhaps these are more pressing hurricane preparedness discussions to be having in advance of a threat than the relitive merits of masking tape?

    • Baldric says:

      "The Red Cross shelter was itself inundated with wind and water"

      How may more times do I have to apologise for this? It was very anxious at the time.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I don't think anyone seriously expects tape to spare their glass from a hurtling roofing tile going 90mph, but it might add some minimal tensile strength with any broken partially-shattered glass and keep it in the frame if hit with a lessor airborne object, say a coconut palm frond going tropical storm force.  $2.00 in tape is a small price to pay if it spares a room thousands in inundation expenses.  In preparing for a hurricane system we can't reliably predict the direction and probable wind speeds, localised venturi effects, and eddy-zones.  My policy is that if it makes you feel better doing it before you evacuate, then go for it.  Anything over Cat 1 and all bets are off anyway.  I wouldn't bother myself unless I had already done everything else higher up on the prep list.      

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is a silly article. The glass shards from a taped window are larger? Doesn't that then mean that it will take less time to clean up, be less dangerous to clean up, and leave less glass behind once it is actually cleaned up? 

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is ridiculous… common, logical sense will tell you that if you tape your windows effectively and with strong tape, it is helpful during hurricanes. Sure, the shards of glass may be larger if the window does break but that is the tape doing its job! I have had to clean up multiple shattered windows throughout my life in the Caribbean and I still tape my windows even though I also shutter. Anyone who has seen a window shatter knows that the glass breaks into what seems like a million pieces and goes literally everywhere. It seems like for days, even weeks, after there are still little flecks of glass that catch your eye in the sun once you think you've gotten all of it! If a windo is taped correctly, not just a lazy 'X' in the middle, then it can most certainly reduce shatter and injuries from the glass. 


    Looks like common sense isn't so common anymore. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh Lord, so many qualified full time safety experts in Cayman!!! Aren't we lucky????


      Or maybe you should just shut up, sit down and listen to the people who study this stuff day in and day out? Never ceases to amaze me how many people think they know everything about everything, when it transpires they know jack sh*t about very many subjects.And they believe with all their hearts they are right. Cayman, listen to the engineers, not the oily rags.

      • Anonymous says:

        The hilarious thing about your comment is that I actually am an engineer, and I do work in public health and safety. This new movement to not tape the windows is just people who do 'study' this stuff over engineering a solution to a problem which does not actually exist. If you break down this scenario there are two possible options: either you choose not to tape your window, and if your window does break it will shatter; or you can spend what, $3.50 on a roll of duct tape and spend perhaps 45 minutes taping your windows effectively. Tape will keep the glass together if it breaks – anyone who has seen safety glass (which has wire mesh inside it to increase tensile strength) will understand the logic behind this. Its a proven method of reducing shatter and glass debris everywhere. 

        • Anonymous says:

          Not a very good engineer I suspect- and probably not involved in hurricane studies, right? The same advice is issued in the USA, Far East and most other places that suffer wind issues. If you are saying that all those specialists are all wrong, please take it up with them so they change their advice to the public. But do not give contrary advice and confuse people when the world's most emminent experts say dont tape up windows.

          • Anonymous says:

            Even more hilarious is how off the mark you actually are. I am by no means saying that duct taping your windows will save your house from a category 5 hurricane, I am however, saying that taping your windows will keep the glass together if/when your window does happen to break. I also don't remember giving out any advice to anyone, and I certainly haven't suggested that people ignore the authorities on this and follow my band wagon – I'm simply pointing out some very basic physics and logic that is in stark contrast to what they are suggesting. However, to each his own. I know I'll tape my windows when threatened by a hurricane because I don't feel like sweeping up microscopic shards of glass for days after a window breaks.

  5. Anny omis says:

    Given my high CUC bills, all the hurricane supplies that I can afford are a roll of masking tape.

  6. Pastor R says:

    Good work CIRC!  I've been trying to get this word out for many years yet some still think tape is kryptonite to glass.  I've even seen people put masking tape on their car windows!

  7. Sam Putt Putt says:

    Welcome news. Perhaps the CI Red Cross will apply the same approach to the similarly useless and envronmentally damaging practice of sandbagging here in the Cayman Islands in preparation for a hurricane storm surge.

  8. Anonymous says:

    now we just need someone to expose the scam of hurricane shutters…… 

    • Anonymous says:

      Scam??? The panels on my house all worked fine during Ivan and every storm since.

      • Anonymous says:

        the scam is that 95% of your damage from a hurricane comes from flooding or roof damage(leaks)…… hurricane shutters just protect inexpensive glass in a window……..

    • Anonymous says:

      Do tell….

      • Anonymous says:

        hurricane shutters protect glass….. a very cheap product if it was unlucky enough to get broken…..

    • Richard Wadd says:

      Surely you jest?
      The ‘scam’ is the ‘Hurricane-proof’ windows!
      They may resist the first impact, but they are useless after that!
      Ever seen a piece of 2″x4″ go through a lightpole? Just have a look on Google!
      I’ll keep my shutters, thank you very much.

      • Anonymous says:

        you both got scammed!…… what happens when your shutters are damaged by a hurricane….alot more expensive than a piece of glass…

  9. Anonymous says:

    Any chance of a video?

    • Baldric says:

      Yeah can someone post a YouTube video of someone not taping their windows so I can do this right.