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The Complete Guide to Impact Windows

In 2005, something historically dangerous was forming off the East coast that was destined to change, and destroy, thousands of lives. Anxiety built on land as people feared for what was to come.

As people began preparing for the worst, Tropical Depression 12 was building power, charging its weapons and pointing them squarely at the southern United States. As it continued to grow, it morphed into a full-blown tropical storm.

Finally, two hours before it impacted Florida, fate had decided to promote the tropical storm to the almighty and devastating Hurricane Katrina. Life would never be the same for the target of this unfair and resolutely impartial destroyer.

There was a brief and sudden moment of relief before the cataclysm - Hurricane Katrina seemed to weaken as it tore apart Floridian homes. Residents of Louisiana, who were next on the storm’s kill list, could relax for a moment. But the relief was tragically short lived, and as quickly as Louisiana had lowered its shields, they had to raise them again. Hurricane Katrina was back with a vengeance.

After crossing Florida, Katrina settled herself in the Gulf of Mexico. As perhaps a divine joke, the waters in the gulf were uncharacteristically warm underneath Katrina, and she, seemingly intentionally, remained in this warmth to foster her growth, building to become one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded.

This sick joke played by Katrina on her victims was made infinitely worse by the swiftness of her ascension to Category 5. Louisiana residents were safe for a moment - and only 9 hours later, Katrina had the fifth most devastating windforce in world history aimed at their children and families.

By the end of the carnage, Katrina had mercilessly slaughtered 1,800 people - 1,800 fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers, wives, husbands, and children - leaving behind absolute despair for millions.

$125 billion worth of property damage left New Orleans and, indeed, all of Louisiana and the surrounding states, with ruined lives and garbage in the streets. It would take a full decade for the residents to resume a life even remotely congruous with the lives that they led before Katrina’s onslaught.

Why is hurricane preparation important?

Hurricanes cause damage in two ways. The first is windforce - how fast air is moving, and to what extent it can break structures.

During Katrina, winds were recorded as fast as 175 miles per hour. The wind is undoubtedly dangerous, since at that speed it can pick up entire structures and lift them to the heavens.

Windforce is made more dangerous by debris. In a hurricane, with lots of damage, there is a vast amount of debris circling in the air: pieces of glass, broken wood planks, street signs, garbage, and even people. When these pieces of debris are carried at over 100 mph, they become lethal projectiles, and anything they hit is infinitely more damaged than it would be with only windforce.

Wind and debris are responsible for the infamous images that surface from the after-effects of a hurricane - thousands upon thousands of broken windows.

If you live in a sturdy structure, the only danger present to you during a hurricane is a broken window. If a window breaks, your home can be destroyed from the inside out.

By the way, you should always follow evacuation guidelines - your house is always “sturdy” until, of course, it isn’t. Obeying evacuation orders can save your life.

Hurricane preparation is important because it can mean the difference between life and death.

To remain safe when there are no evacuation orders in place, there are a number of preparations you can make.

First, stock up on food. Supply chains are always failing before a hurricane as everyone clambers to gather food. It’s important to only take what you need, and leave stuff for your neighbors.

Second, board up your windows. Keeping those windows from breaking and preventing debris from entering your home is the best way to protect against physical harm.

Third, if you live in a particularly prone area, you may want to invest in impact windows. Impact windows are specially designed to prevent breakage and keep your family safe during high wind speeds.

What are Impact Windows

There are two main types of impact windows that can help prevent sharp breaks. The first is film windows.

Film windows are constructed by applying a thin polyester film to both sides of a window. This makes the window considerably more difficult to break the glass, since the film acts as a sort of counterforce, keeping the window together. Once broke, the window is kept in place by the film, keeping a barrier between you and the fierce winds. It also prevents shards of glass from flying into your home in the event of a window break.

The second type of impact window is called an inner-membrane window. It consists of panes of glass smushed together with membranes of PVC between them. Simple inner-membrane windows consist of two panes of glass with one membrane in the middle. More complex inner-membrane windows, such as bulletproof glass, consist of dozens of layers of membranes and glass panes.

The two main types of impact glass can be combined, such that you have a membrane in between two panes of glass, with film on the outsides. This is an extremely effective way to construct glass that is resistant to high winds and debris.

Impact windows have been shown to reduce the potential for debris damage and injury when indoors. In a hurricane, your life should be your first priority. Follow evacuation orders, stock up on water and food (just enough for your family, no more), and invest in impact windows.

In the event your skies are clear, check out Filter King’s online store and get some new air filters for your home or office. Air filters should be changed at least every three months (more often if you have pets), and changing them is the only way to keep your air at its best!