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When lighting strikes

Be prepared and know what to do when thunder roars

THERE IS ONE IMPORTANT saying that tells you what to do when you see lightning or hear thunder. Follow it and teach lightning safety to your children.

“When thunder roars, go indoors.”

That’s the National Weather Service’s motto concerning thunder and lightning. It’s easy to remember and can save your life. Here are a few other safety tips that can help avoid the risk of death or injury.

If you’re outside, you should seek shelter when you first see a flash of lightning or feel a rumble of thunder. Both are cues the storm is close enough for lightning to strike. 

Seek safe shelter immediately. The safest places to be are a building with electricity and/or plumbing, or a metal-topped vehicle with the windows closed. 

Picnic shelters, dugouts and small buildings without plumbing or electricity are not safe.

Wait at least 30 minutes after seeing lightning or hearing thunder before going back outside. You are still at risk of being struck by lightning after a storm has passed. Don’t go back outside just because the rain has slowed or stopped.

Other safety tips during lightning

When you see lightning, avoid water. Do not bathe, shower, wash dishes or have any other contact with water during a thunderstorm, because lightning can travel through a building’s plumbing.

Avoid electronic equipment, corded phones, computers, and other electrical equipment, windows, doors, porches and concrete. While it might be tempting to watch the storm from the safety of your home, stay away from windows and doors.

Do not lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls, like those in a basement or garage. Lightning can travel through the metal wires in concrete walls and flooring.

If you are caught in a storm while at a pond, lake or pool, get out and away from the water as soon as you hear thunder.

If you are hiking on a hillside and hear thunder, move to lower ground because lightning will seek high points. This also means you do not want to sit under a tree to stay dry. 

Never seek shelter in a cave or rocky overhang, and do not lay flat on the ground.

If someone is struck by lightning, he or she may need immediate medical attention. Lightning victims do not carry an electrical charge and are safe to touch. Call 911 immediately and start CPR if needed.

BILLY PORTER is the Safety Coordinator at Gibson Electric Membership Corporation. 

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