Consider the odds:
As part of this National Safety Month, National Lightning Safety Awareness Week is 21-27 June. We’ve talked about getting more outdoors time and making sure you stay hydrated this summer (and all the time). All the wellness talk in the world won’t help if you don’t observe basic safety guidelines, should you be outside when a thunderstorm starts. This year there have been 11 fatalities due to lightning strikes already. 2014 saw 26 fatalities. Compared to incidences of some diseases, lightning strikes may be just as deadly.
Considering the odds, let’s go over some safety tips from NOAA.
The most important thing to remember: “When thunder roars, go indoors.” You can much better protect yourself indoors from lightning than when you’re outdoors. That being said, how can you protect yourself outdoors when you’re far away from shelter?
- NO PLACE outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area!
- If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.
- When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter: a substantial building with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up.
- Stay in safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder. Lightning can strike 10 miles outside of the rainfall area of a storm.
If you are caught outside with no safe shelter anywhere nearby the following actions may reduce your risk:
- Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks
- Never lie flat on the ground
- Never shelter under an isolated tree
- Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water
- Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines, windmills, etc.)
Indoor Lightning Safety
- Stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity.
- Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths and faucets.
- Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
- Do not lie on concrete floors, and do not lean against concrete walls.
To avoid being surprised by a thunderstorm, check the weather at home before you go out to the pool, the beach, the golf course, the ultimate Frisbee park…or download a weather app on your smartphone and keep an eye out for storm conditions. One of the biggest parts of safety is prevention, and by following these tips, you can protect yourself from summer storm tragedy.