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Lightning Safety Tips

Lightning strikes about 400 people every year in the United States and can be as far as 10 miles away from the actual rain. Here are some helpful tips to keep you and your family safe from lightning strikes.

When you are outside and can hear thunder that means you are in harm’s way and should immediately seek indoor shelter, a house, a building or hard topped vehicle. Once inside be sure to stay away from windows and doors. Seeking shelter under a large tree or any place outside during a storm does not constitute as a form of shelter and can prove to be equally as dangerous as staying out in the open.

Once inside, be sure to unplug electrical appliances like computers and televisions and turn off your air conditioner. Do not use items that can put you in direct contact with electricity like corded phones or even bathtubs and sinks as the piping and water can serve as a conductor of electricity.

If you find yourself stuck outside and your hair begins to stand up that is a sign that lighting is about to strike. In order to brace yourself, put your hands over your ears and make yourself the smallest target possible by squatting down as low as you can to the ground. Try to make as little amount of contact with the ground as possible and never lay completely flat on the ground.

If you do encounter someone who has been struck by lightning, contact EMS immediately and attend to the victim. They will not have an electrical charge so there is no danger of being shocked. Check vital signs, breathing, heartbeat and pulse and apply CPR if needed until EMS arrives.

During 2004 – 2008 there were an average of 24,600 fires started by lightning which caused an annual average of 47 civilian injuries, 12 civilian deaths and $407 million in direct property damages. Make sure to take lightning seriously, have an evacuation plan for your home and business and make sure you are aware of the weather conditions around you. Being educated and prepared are key steps in avoiding disasters.

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