Shattering a myth: Don't tape your windows before a hurricane

Taping up your window to protect from a storm -- is it good practice, or is it simply a myth?

"We decided to put it to the test using the old spud gun," FOX 13 chief meteorologist Paul Dellegatto explained, clutching his weapon of choice.

The potato went right through the taped-up window, proving that it doesn't work.

"This is a piece of potato, so remember, during a hurricane, which would be flying debris, you'd be talking about flying 2-by-4's," Paul continued. "Obviously it doesn't work well at all."

It's a message the Federal Alliance of Safe Homes, known as FLASH, is trying to spread with its "Go Tapeless" campaign.

"Putting tape on windows as a hurricane protection is an absolute myth and it's the last thing you want to do," said FLASH CEO Leslie Chap-Henderson.

Even though there's proof it doesn't work, folks seem to stick to their habits.

"During Hurricane Irene, thousands of families started taping their windows so we thought, 'OK, it's time to get really aggressive,'" she said.

In fact, seven out of 10 people surveyed believed that taping windows was an effective way to keep them from shattering during the storm.

"It wastes the time that could be better used, for example, [putting up] plywood shutters or using your permanently mounted shutters or getting ready in a way that's going to protect your family."

As our experiment showed, the tape simply does not work. Even worse, said Chap-Henderson, "putting tape or other sticky substances on glass can make the glass itself larger. So when it breaks, it makes the shards larger and it can injure and, in some documented cases, has caused fatalities."

The broken glass isn't the only threat. Once a window is blown out, your home is compromised and the strong winds can cause it to come down. Hopefully demonstrations like this will help get the word out and save lives.

"The only thing worse than no hurricane protection is the wrong protection and we want to make sure that people are ready when the storms blow."