Do what you can to avoid lightning strikes


BELLVILLE — Thunderstorms in the past week have included an inordinate supply of lightning and thunder. Unfortunately, there is no safe place outside when thunderstorms are in the area. If you hear thunder, you are likely within striking distance of the storm.

Just remember: When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors.

Outdoors

If you absolutely cannot get to safety, you can slightly lessen the threat of being struck with the following tips:

  • Avoid open fields, the top of a hill or a ridge top.
  • Stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects. If you are in a forest, stay near a lower stand of trees.
  • If you are in a group, spread out to avoid the current traveling between group members.
  • If you are camping in an open area, set up camp in a valley, ravine or other low areas. Remember, a tent offers NO protection from lighting.
  • Stay away from water, wet items, such as ropes, and metal objects, such as fences and poles. Water and metal do not attract lightning but they are excellent conductors of electricity. The current from a lightning flash will easily travel for long distances.

Indoors

A safe shelter is a building with electricity and/or plumbing or a metal-topped vehicle with windows closed. Picnic shelters, dugouts, small buildings without plumbing or electricity are not safe. Below are some key safety tips for you, your pets and your home:

  • Stay off corded phones. You can use cellular or cordless phones.
  • Don’t touch electrical equipment such as computers, TVs, or cords. You can remote controls safety.
  • Avoid plumbing. Do not wash your hands, take a shower or wash dishes.
  • Stay away from windows and doors that might have small leaks around the sides to let in lightning, and stay off porches.
  • Do not lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls.

Protect your pets: Dog houses are not safe shelters. Dogs that are chained to trees or on metal runners are particularly vulnerable to lightning strikes.

Protect your property: Lightning generates electric surges that can damage electronic equipment some distance from the actual strike. Typical surge protectors will not protect equipment from a lightning strike.

Lightning Safety on the Job: Know what objects and equipment to avoid during a thunderstorm.

  • Stay off and away from anything tall or high, including rooftops, scaffolding, utility poles, and ladders.
  • Stay off and away from large equipment such as bulldozers, cranes, backhoes, track loaders, and tractors.
  • Do not touch materials or surfaces that can conduct electricity, including metal scaffolding, metal equipment, utility lines, water, water pipes and plumbing.
  • Leave areas with explosives or munitions.

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