Lightning safety tips
Tuesday, December 18th 2007, 6:48 PM CST
- If you're outside keep an eye on the weather. Look for darkening skies, flashes of lightning, or increasing winds. Lightning often precedes rain, so don't wait for rain to fall. And if you hear thunder, go inside immediately.
- If you are caught outside in a storm, always look for appropriate shelter. The best place to go is a building or a car.
- Never seek shelter under a tree or in water. Trees attract lightning and water is a great conductor of electricity. Other places to avoid are sheds, picnic areas, baseball dugouts and bleachers.
- If you're caught in a storm and cannot get to a shelter, put your feet as close together as possible and crouch down with your head as low as possible without touching the ground. By making your body as low to the ground as possible and minimizing the amount of contact your body has with the ground, you will lessen the risk of a lightning-related injury.
- Never lay down on the ground during a storm. There is potential for electricity from a lightning strike to radiate away from the point of contact. If your body is in the area the current can flow through you. You also never want the current to have the ability to pass through your body, since it could cause cardiac arrest, organ damage and burns.
- If you are indoors when there is lightning, stay off the phone. If you must use the telephone, use a cordless phone or a cell phone. This is because a ground lightning strike can travel through every phone on a line - and potentially your body - if you're holding the phone receiver.
- Don't take a bath or shower during a storm. Lightning can strike a house and pass an electrical charge to the home's plumbing. Thankfully, this threat has been lessened in recent years because PVC pipe is often used for indoor plumbing instead of metal.
- If someone is struck by lightning call 911 immediately! The injured person won't carry an electrical charge, so it is okay to touch them, but they need to get medical attention as soon as possible.