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Staying Safe From Lightning
Summer is prime time for outdoor activities and for thunderstorms. As a result, more people are struck by lightning in summer than in any other season, although the danger exists whenever there are electrical storms. An average of 54 people a year die from lightning strikes in the United States, and many more are injured. How can you avoid being one of those statistics?
According to Accuweather.com, the first thing is to avoid being outside in a storm. If you have an outdoor activity planned, check the weather before you go. And always err on the side of caution. For example, don’t take a boat out on the lake if thunderstorms are forecast. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you might want to invest in a weather radio so that you can monitor any coming storms.
But what if you do find yourself outside as a storm is approaching? Again, don’t take chances. Lightning can strike any time from before the storm hits until 30 minutes or more after it is gone. At the first sign of an approaching storm, take cover.
The safest place is inside a secure building with a roof and walls. A tent, for example, is not a safe place. Neither is a picnic shelter. If you can’t get to a building, get into your car or other vehicle and roll up the windows. If lightning strikes your car, it will travel along the metal frame and into the ground. If you are camping, pitch your tent near your car so that if a storm comes, you can ride it out in the car.
There are several places where you never should be if lightning is possible:
- Under a tree or pole
- In an open field, such as a baseball or soccer field or a golf course
- In an open metal golf cart
- In or on water, especially in a metal boat.
You might not even be safe inside your home. Lightning can come into your home through a corded device, so it is wise not to talk on a corded phone during a storm. Lightning can also come through plumbing, so you should avoid taking a shower or doing dishes until the danger is past.
Finally, if you are with someone who is struck by lightning, call 911 immediately. Most people who are affected by lightning strikes survive, but quick action is critical. If you know how, you can start giving CPR. It is not true that you can be shocked by someone who has been hit by lightning.
So don’t let fear of lightning keep you inside this summer. But take sensible precautions to ensure that you and your loved ones are safe.