Escape Hatch Allows Homeowners to Escape Floods Through Their Roof, but is it Practical?

A company in Texas has released a roof add-on that could allow homeowners hit by hurricanes to escape through their roof.

Hatch Systems, LLC’s High Tide Escape Hatch, announced in a press release on Monday, will look to improve the safety of homes in hurricane-prone areas. Hurricanes Sandy and Isaac in 2012 killed over 300 people in the U.S. and surrounding areas, and Hurricane Katrina killed 1,833 people in 2005.

An additional 15 tropical storms have hit since Hurricane Katrina, resulting in floods, property destruction and casualties. Unfortunately, many of the deaths occurred when homes flooded, trapping people indoors as buildings collapsed.

Hatch Systems, LLC plans to address this issue by releasing its patented escape hatch to get people out of their homes and onto their roofs, where they’re safer from flooding and more accessible to rescue workers. The hatch is affordable and can be installed easily into an existing roof. It’s also invisible from the outside, so it won’t take away from the decorative elements of the roof system.

High Tide Escape Hatches are installed between existing rafters, underneath shingles and overlay materials. In the event of an emergency, a user turns a simple hand crank to deploy the hatch. Because the hatch deploys inward, it can’t be blocked by storm debris on the roof. The pressure of the hatch also suctions existing roofing materials, cracking the roof open and allowing for easy removal of the remaining material.

This is where the invisibility of the hatch gets a little two-sided. On one hand, hatches don’t disrupt the look of your roof, and roof leakage through the hatch is impossible since the roofing system goes over it. On the other hand, the homeowner will need to patch the roof over the broken section after using the hatch.

The hatch can be reused after a patch, but it’s still difficult to tell whether the High Tide Escape Hatch is any more practical than leaving a pickaxe in the attic to hack through the roof. However, it does become part of the roof decking, so users who are unable to break through thicker roof decking manually may benefit from the hatch.

The hatch can also be closed again once it has been opened, allowing homeowners to go out and leave signs of their presence on the roof for rescuers before going back inside to take shelter from the elements. This cuts down on flooding that could rush in from a hole in the roof.

Hatch Systems, LLC recommends its product for a variety of situations other than hurricanes, including home invasion, flooding, or any other entrapment situation.

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