Lightning is highly dangerous. With a little bit of common sense, you can solidify your safety. “When thunder roars, go indoors” is the mantra for The National Weather Service. It should become yours too!
Here are some safety tips:
- Keep your eyes on the skies. Thunderstorms typically develop in the spring and summer months; however, they can (and do) occur year round. Towering cumulus clouds are the first sign of a developing thunderstorm.
- 10 miles is the magic number. Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles from area where there is rain present. Thunder can be heard from 10 miles away. If you hear thunder, you are within striking distance and must seek shelter.
- Be a leader. Most lightning deaths occur in the summer months when outdoor sports are in full swing. Stop activities at the first roar of thunder to guarantee enough time to get to shelter. Develop a written plan all staff are aware of and must follow, such as The Hillsdale Football Association has done.
- When indoors, stay away from electrical equipment. Stay off corded phones and computers, which put you in direct contact with electricity. Stay away from plumbing such as pools, tubs, and showers.
- Wait 30 minutes. Waiting may be a drag but it could potentially save your life. Wait 30 minutes after the last strike before going outside again.
- Help a lightning strike victim. If a person you are with is struck by lightning, call 911 immediately. With proper treatment, most victims survive lightning strikes. Most common complications are cardiac arrest, burns, and nerve damage. You are in no danger helping/touching a lightning victim; the charge will not pass to you.