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Not everyone thinks hurricane protection needs to withstand the impact of a
2-by-4 shot through a cannon at 35 miles per hour.

While the missile test was designed to simulate roof tiles flying through the air during 110-mile-per-hour winds, some experts say old-fashioned shutters and even plywood are adequate.

"You do need window protection, but 10 to 15 percent over the resistance of the present (window) glaze is adequate. Anything above that is overkill," said Dr. Dale Perry, professor of architecture at Texas A&M University. He did studies for Texas' Department of Insurance to determine what level of hurricane protection is needed.

That means "something like nominal plywood," would be adequate, Perry said, adding that the Southern Building Code Congress International's missile test is a "very severe requirement."

It's also very expensive, which is why the Southern Building Code Congress is considering allowing 7/16-inch plywood as an alternative.

"It doesn't make sense to boilerplate the windows" with super-strength shutters when the roof could blow off at a much lower wind rate, Perry said.

"We respectfully disagree with that," said Sam Miller, vice president of the Florida Insurance Council, a Tallahassee-based lobbying and public affairs association for the insurance industry.

"There obviously is a middle ground somewhere, but right now we believe that the Dade and Broward standards are not excessive and we absolutely support them," Miller added. "What's clear since Hurricane Andrew is the standards that were in effect in most areas just weren't adequate."

Go to the Emergency Preparedness Information page, on to Preparing Your Boat, or back to Preparing Your Mobile Home.