Lightning Storm Safety
Electrical storms are one of the deadliest and most widespread weather occurrences in the world, but by understanding proper lightning storm safety, no one needs to worry about thunderstorm hazards.
About Lightning Storms:
Lightning storms are any storm that includes lightning bolts, typically accompanied by thunder and rain, but not always. Lightning is an electrical discharge between the ground and the clouds that results from an imbalance of charges; the lightning strike is how those charges are rebalanced. Florida is considered the “Lightning Capital of the World” because it has the highest number of lightning strikes of any geographic location, due in part to the humidity of the state that contributes to electrical buildup in the atmosphere.
Every part of the world experiences thunderstorms and lightning strikes, but the upside of that regularity is that more than 90 percent of individuals who are struck by lightning survive the strike, many of them without lasting damage. At the same time, however, lightning can be fatal or cause severe burns, neurological trauma and other complications, and understanding storm safety is the first step toward avoiding tragedies.
Lightning Storm Safety Tips:
Practicing good safety habits during even the mildest lightning storm is the key to minimizing risks, but safety precautions are different whether individuals are indoors or outdoors.
The safest place to be during a lightning storm is inside a relatively large, fully enclosed building (not a small shed or an open garage, for example). If lightning does strike the building, the charge will be carried through pipes and wiring into the ground, well away from the inhabitants. When indoors, follow these lightning storm safety tips:
•Do not use telephones, headphones or electrical appliances during the storm – lightning can travel through the wires and produce shocks to anyone using them. Note: Cell phones are safe to use during lightning storms because they are not physically connected to the wires.
•Unplug expensive electronic devices (televisions, computers, stereos, etc.) to help protect them.
•Do not take a bath, shower or do dishes during a lightning storm, because water is a conductor and charges can be carried through metal pipes.
•Stay away from windows, doors and exterior walls if at all possible.
•Keep windows and doors closed during the storm.
•Stay inside for 30 minutes after the last lightning strikes to ensure the storm has fully passed.