Cyclone Yasi | The dangers of glass in windows & doors

Avoiding damage to glass windows and doors can be a difficult task and in some extreme cases is unavoidable. Although the current Australian Standards for glass in buildings requires stronger and safer glass in cyclone prone areas many older properties still have the original annealed glass. Cyclone Yasi, which is expected to hit the Queensland coast later tonight, is an example of a weather system that can cause mass devastation. With winds predicted to reach over 220km/hr, ordinary glass simply will not survive this type of force.

Unfortunately glass windows and doors are a vulnerable area of homes in this type of situation therefore they should be protected in some way. If the home is lucky enough to have laminated safety glass flying debris will break the glass however it should remain intact because of the plastic interlayer between the two sheets of glass. Once a sheet of ordinary glass has been penetrated in high wind conditions it is more than likely that most of the glass will be blown out of the frame. This causes a dangerous environment with razor sharp pieces of glass being thrown throughout the home. In addition to these obvious dangers, the open window allows wind and water to enter the home. Once the wind is inside the home it needs an exit point to release the pressure, which is usually another window. Ultimately many windows will be damaged in this way without protection.

Types of protection

The minimum requirements would be to place cloth tape across all windows, in a vertical, horizontal and diagonal direction. Cloth tape is more durable and will hold the glass together better than other types of tape. No doubt cleaning the tape of the glass at a later date will prove difficult but this is better than the alternative of having no glass at all. The ultimate method of protection is to screw sheets of plywood over the exterior of all windows and doors. Most frames consist of timber architraves or timber reveals that can be repaired at a later date. If brick work or render is the only alternative, some minor damage here may be worth it in the long run.

While we don’t claim to be experts about safety in cyclones, we are experts in glass. Glass can be a very dangerous product and must be treated with respect. Broken glass can cause deaths during these natural disasters therefore caution must be taken when handling any glass.

The team here at Valiant Glass hopes everyone will escape unharmed from cyclone Yasi.

Good luck everyone.