Severe Weather Safety:
Although June marks the arrival of summer, it also typically brings the most severe weather of the season. High winds, downpours, and lightning can cause severe damage to any home and can also put individuals in danger.
There is no safe place outside during a lightning storm. Lightning is the third-largest storm related killer in the United States and causes nearly one billion dollars in damage annually. Most lightning-related injuries occur because people fail to seek shelter soon enough. Keep an eye on local weather forecasts and do not hesitate to seek shelter. Individuals in areas with a high frequency of lightning strikes should consider contacting a lightning protection specialist.
CAUGHT IN THE RAIN:
If you are close enough to hear thunder, you are close enough to get struck by lightning. As soon as thunder is heard, seek shelter in a building or hard-topped vehicle. Golf carts will not provide adequate protection. If getting to safety is impossible, avoid tall objects such as trees and get to the lowest place possible, such as a valley or ravine. Squat in a catcher's position and place your head between your knees. It is important to minimize ground contact so do not lay flat. Avoid metal and seek shelter as soon as possible.
OUT ON THE ROAD:
If a storm hits while you are driving, exit the highway as soon as possible and park in a safe location. Turn on emergency flashers until the storm subsides. Avoid touching metal.
Even if you are safely indoors, there are still measures that can be taken to minimize damage. Unplug televisions, computers, and other electronics before the storm hits as these devices can be ruined in the event of a lightning strike. Once the storm begins, avoid touching any electrical equipment with a cord. During periods of high winds it is especially important to avoid windows, doors, and porches as flying debris can cause injury. Avoid taking baths or showers as water is a conductor of electricity.
WHAT IF MY HOME IS STRUCK?
If you suspect your home may have been struck by lightning, dial 9-1-1 immediately and evacuate if you see fire or smoke. If your home uses gas heat, contact your gas company to conduct a leak test before returning home.