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Buyer Beware

Know the facts about hurricane home protection products before you buy
VENICE, Fla, July 20, 2009 – Is it worth taking a risk when your family’s safety is on the line? Recently, media outlets have been reporting a noticeable increase of dealers selling unproven or unsafe hurricane protection products to unknowing consumers in Florida. Although many of these products can be installed as do-it-yourself projects, and allow consumers to avoid the hassles of permits, the potential risk of damage during a hurricane remains high because these products have not been proven to be safe.

Leslie Chapman-Henderson, CEO of the non-profit group Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, or FLASH, told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune: "We are incredibly concerned about some of the things we are seeing in the marketplace and the confusion it is causing. The only thing worse than no hurricane protection is the wrong hurricane protection."   

As part of its effort to educate consumers about hurricane home protection, PGT Industries, the impact resistant window and door pioneer, has made it easy for consumers to find tips and resources for hurricane protection options, building codes and more on its website pgtindustries.com. Additionally, PGT has created a “Product Approvals & Certification” section on the site where consumers can easily locate Product Approval numbers and approval information about each of the impact-resistant products the company offers.

Consumers should be aware that to meet code, a hurricane protection product has to pass lab tests and be certified by the State of Florida or Miami-Dade County. These products must be able to withstand a blow from a nine-pound 2-by-4 traveling at 35 miles per hour, then prove to withstand tests replicating the pressure and suction of hurricane-force winds and stay securely attached within the opening. The state sets these standards in order to protect consumers from loss of life and the destruction of property.

Unfortunately, the state doesn’t prevent businesses from marketing untested or phony hurricane protection products. "It really is 'let the buyer beware,'" said Terence McElroy, spokesman for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. These untested products might be less costly but have not been proven to provide the type of protection homes in high-risk storm areas need.

The International Hurricane Protection Association (IHPA) is launching a new consumer awareness campaign called “Get The Number” in order to help direct customers to trustworthy companies. The IHPA suggests that homeowners looking to purchase a hurricane protection product for their home should insist upon a product approval number from companies that sell hurricane protection products. Products with an approval number have already met all of the required standards for a hurricane protection system. For more information, visit inthpa.com.

ABOUT PGT:
PGT® pioneered the U.S. impact-resistant window and door industry and today is the nation’s leading manufacturer and supplier of residential impact-resistant windows and doors. Founded in 1980, the company employs approximately 1,250 at its manufacturing, glass laminating and tempering plants in Florida and North Carolina. Utilizing the latest designs and technology, PGT products are ideal for new construction and replacement projects serving the residential, commercial, high-rise and institutional markets. PGT’s product line includes PGT® Aluminum and Vinyl Windows and Doors; WinGuard® Impact-Resistant Windows and Doors; PGT® Architectural Systems; and Eze-Breeze® Sliding Panels. PGT Industries is a wholly owned subsidiary of PGT, Inc. (NASDAQ: PGTI). For additional information, visit pgtindustries.com or call 800-284-6019.