According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), lightning strikes kill an average of 47 people per year in the United States. This number isn't huge, but it isn't insignificant, either.
Don't become part of these statistics. Here are some tips on what to do before, during and after a thunderstorm when it comes to lightning protection.
Before a Thunderstorm
Preparation before lightning strikes is about limiting electric contact in and around your home. You can do this by:
- Removing dead tree branches near your house which could ignite and cause a fire if struck by lightning.
- Unplugging all appliances before the storm hits to prevent power surges.
- Closing blinds and shades.
During a Thunderstorm
Once a storm has started, there are additional safety measures to take. These include:
- Staying away from windows.
- Avoiding phone use - telephone lines can conduct electricity.
- Staying away from faucets, sinks and bathtubs.
- Staying away from water, if you're stuck outside. Get inside or in a car.
- Keeping the windows shut, if you're in a car. Pull to the side of the road to wait until the heavy rain subsides. Keep away from trees that could fall on your car.
- Finding a place outside that is unlikely to flood, if you can't find shelter. Avoid tall structures such as towers, trees, fences, telephone lines and power lines.
- Squatting low to the ground and assuming a tucked position. Place your hands on your knees with your head tucked between them. Try to touch as little of your body to the ground as possible. Do not lie flat on the ground, this provides a larger surface to conduct electricity.
- Dropping into the tucked position if you feel your hair standing on end. This sensation means electrical charges are already running up your body from the ground toward an electrically charged cloud. Minimize your contact with the ground to minimize your injury.
After a Thunderstorm
Don't be afraid to touch or help a person who has been struck by lightning - the person or object does not carry a charge after it has already happened. Administer first aid or CPR immediately. A lightning victim usually suffers burns in two places on the body—where the lightning entered and where it exited.
Lightning can strike your home or other areas of your property, too! If you have questions about how your homeowners insurance protects your property from damage from lightning, contact a Trusted Choice ® independent agent.
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