Florida's very active hurricane season in 2004 was revisited today by members
of the Protective Glazing Counsel (PGC) at its spring meeting, taking place at
the Embassy Suites Busch Gardens in Tampa, Fla.
Starting the seminar series was Mike Luttkus, dealer education trainer for PGT
Industries, presenting pictures and findings of a damage survey his company did
in the aftermath of hurricanes Charley, Ivan, Frances and Jeanne. Luttkus explained
to his audience that the latter three hurricanes, which did the most damage to
the state, were all measured to be the weakest category hurricanes possible, all
Category 1. Charley was the only Category 4 hurricane to hit Florida last year
and it was smaller in girth than the other three.
"Some people compare Charley to a large tornado and I feel that's fairly
accurate," Luttkus said.
Luttkus was Julie Schimmelpenningh of Solutia, who spoke on the topic of protective
glazing in new construction. She took her audience through questions someone investing
in protective glazing should consider (threat levels, occurrence rate, amount
of desired protection, cost and code requirements), as well as the product flow
through which glass must go before it becomes an acceptable window--or "How
Glass Becomes Spaghetti," as she called it.
"The U.S. hurricane market is from the tip of Texas to the cape of Massachusetts.
Not everyone has protection," she said.
After a short break, Nick Routh of Bekaert Specialty Films gave a quick review
of how applied window film can help protect against storm damage, showing clips
of different performance tests on security film--both daylight applied and wet
glazed -- attached to both annealed and tempered glass panes.
"Nothing happens until the glass breaks. Granted, it doesn't meet standards,
but I'd rather have that than tempered glass all over the floor," he said.
"Shutters and storm materials are great, but a lot of people can't put them
up -- or won't put them up, or put them up too late, or, as has been mentioned
before, are in the middle of Iowa."
Eric Cote and Dr. Bob Bailey of the Protecting People First Foundation (PPFF)
was the last presentation before lunch, discussing the preliminary results of
its study "Finding the Breaking Point," part of Project Safe Windows,
which looked at the aftermath of the 2004 hurricane season. As the study found,
any protection is better than none at all, but the optimum results can only be
achieved if protective materials are attached and deployed properly.
Shutters, Bailey and Cote explained, work very well if they are in place correctly,
but installing them can be problematic and even dangerous to individuals who try
to put them up during high winds, on ladders. Older members of the community,
as well, may have difficulty installing them. Mechanical, automatic shutters can
also be problematic if a building loses power and there is no manual override
by which to roll up the shutters, creating sauna-like conditions inside buildings
and perpetuating mold growth.
Screens--both rigid and flexible--worked, again with the caveat that they had
to be employed correctly, as did laminated glass. Security window film, they said,
worked when and where applied, but was difficult to survey because examples of
it in use were limited, especially examples that were put to the test and received
The PGC's spring meeting continues through tomorrow.