When thunder roars and lightning strikes – staying safe around lighting

Lightning Near A House

Many people are fascinated by lightning, and rightfully so. The giant spark of electricity lights up the sky, and in the blink of an eye, it’s gone. Although lightning is captivating, it’s also very dangerous.

Did you know that lightning is hotter than the surface of the sun and can reach temperatures around 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit? In the United States, lightning strikes about 25 million times per year according to the National Weather Service. About 300 people are struck by lightning annually, and on average, it causes 30 casualties while others suffer lifelong disabilities.

It’s important to know what safety precautions to take when lightning is present. Follow these tips to keep you and your family safe.

When a thunderstorm is nearby

When there is a chance of a thunderstorm, postpone activities and continue to monitor the weather. Know where you’ll go for safety when the storm is imminent and make sure you’ll have enough time to get there. Don’t wait too long to seek shelter.

If you hear thunder, get to a safe place. All thunderstorms produce lightning and if you can hear thunder, danger is near. Keep away from electrical equipment, plumbing, windows, metal conductors, and don’t use a corded phone.

Don’t get caught outdoors

How to protect your home from severe weather
Learn to safeguard your home before storms arrive
When thunderstorms roll in, no place outside is safe. As soon as you hear thunder, get inside a substantial building or hard-topped metal vehicle as quickly as you can. If you have no option but to remain outside, avoid open areas. Never be the tallest object in the area; lightning tends to strike taller objects. Though metal does not attract lightning, it can travel long distances through it so stay away from metal conductors like wires and fences.

Spread out if you are with a group of people. This will prevent multiple casualties and increase the chance that someone could get help if a person is struck.

After the storm

Stay inside a safe building or vehicle for at least 30 minutes after you hear the last thunder. Electrical charges can linger in clouds after a thunderstorm has seemingly passed. Some people are struck because they go back outside too soon.

If someone is struck

Lightning strike victims do not carry an electrical charge and may need first aid immediately. Those who die from a lightning strike usually do so due to cardiac arrest. Call 911 immediately and begin CPR if you are trained. If possible, move the victim to a safer place; lightning can strike twice.

Always remember: When thunder roars, go indoors.