As you know, Macau just went through another suspenseful event of facing a Super Typhoon. Although innocently named after the Thai word for the fruit Mangosteen, the devastation caused by Mangkhut was not so innocent. It flooded many parts of Macau, caused dozens of injuries and closed all casinos in Macau for the first time. Thankfully, there were no casualties.
One thing that you would have noticed if you were in Macau during the typhoon was the extraordinary amounts of tape applied to the windows all around the city. Although some window-tapers opted to create patterns that resemble the Christian cross, the taping is not a superstitious attempt to protect the homes against the typhoon’s relentless winds. It’s a supposedly practical method that with purposes: to serve as reinforcement for the window panes against the high winds and flying objects, and failing that, to prevent the windows from shattering into a million tiny pieces.
Watching the nervous people of Macau holding their breath and diligently taping away at their windows before the typhoon, I had to wonder – Does it actually work?
A simple Google search revealed the unanimous opinion of the disaster experts of the internet. According to them, not only is taping a completely ineffective method of window protection in a super typhoon scenario, it is actually a net negative. Firstly, the tape does little to nothing to actually reinforce the window itself, no arguments. Secondly, if the window does shatter, the tape can hold the shards together and create an even more dangerous scenario for the inhabitants the tape failed to protect in the first place. Large pieces of glasses taped together and flying at you at super typhoon level speeds is not exactly something you dream of.
Lastly, even if the window luckily doesn’t break (with no thanks to the tape), you are left with the absolute worst-case scenario of having to remove sticky tape residue from your window. It might just be the most difficult thing the good people of Macau would have to endure in their adult lives.
I was joking about the last point, but more importantly, if tape doesn’t help then what can you actually do to protect yourself during a typhoon?
According to Business Insider, one DIY option that would help is boarding up your windows with plywood and caulking the perimeters to keep out the water.
To me, this sounds like it might work, but a bit overambitious for the average typhoon survivor. A more practical method might be to save the tape and simply remove yourself and your valuables away from the windows and places exposed to falling objects. Oh, and another thing. Get insurance. Always have insurance.
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Sam Lee is a marketing manager and property consultant at JML Property. JML was established in 1994 and offers Investment Property & Homes. It specializes in managing properties for owners and investors, and providing attractive and comfortable homes for tenants.