|Protection from storm starts with you|
If there is one good thing that came out of the devastation of monstrous Hurricane Ike almost three years ago, it shattered the complacency of the residents of the Turks and Caicos Islands toward preparing for hurricane season.
There was a time here “pre-Ike” when people had notions of how well “protected” these islands are from big storms. This was due, they proclaimed, to Hispaniola acting like an axe head virtually splitting storms with its tall mountains and sending the storms spiraling to the north or south of us.
For many years, there seemed to be some truth to those boasts as the TCI had been spared from any major storms. Then in 2008, as we all know, Hurricane Ike’s projected path, speed and strength a few days before hitting these islands silenced the pundits and illustrated to all that we were on our own in the face of this beast! It was bad, but it could have been a lot worse.
Having said that, I am amazed driving around these islands at how many windows, screened porches, garage doors, sliding doors and louvered windows remain inadequately protected or not protected at all. Many rely on plywood for protection, as the screw holes from numerous years still show their scars around windows and doors.
Plywood doesn’t stand a chance in a large storm with winds over 100 mph. It has been shown in controlled testing that a 2x4-inch piece of lumber shot end-ways into half-inch thick plywood at 50 mph results in the lumber actually going right through the plywood and into the room beyond! Not only does this present a hazard to the occupants inside the home, but any breach is now an entry point for wind and rain presenting further damage to your home.
The only line of defense in protecting you, your family and belongings is to invest in quality hurricane protection. So where does a person start given all of the products on the markets these days? Start with getting a quote — right away.
Have a person in the industry assess your home, provide you with options that meet your needs and your budget and determine what is right for you and your family. Ask a lot of questions, and make sure you are satisfied with the answers rather than settling for a certain product that is being sold to you.
Above all else, don’t wait. Given the manufacture and shipping time required for many hurricane shutters to get to the TCI, it is too late to wait for June.
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Having lived on Providenciales since 2003, Patrick Staples has experienced a few of our hurricanes. After Hurricane Ike proved that plywood was not the answer, Staples created Tropic Solutions Ltd. to supply and install the best hurricane protection products available today. For more information, visit www.tropicsolutionsltd.com.