Thunderstorm Safety Tips:
Lightning is the third greatest storm-related killer in the United States and causes nearly $1 billion in damages each year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Over the past 10 years, on average, lightning has directly killed 37 people per year in the U.S. and indirectly killed about a dozen more due to fires caused by lightning.
There is no safe place outside when a thunderstorm is in the area. If you hear thunder, you need to get inside a safe place immediately, avoid contact with plumbing and anything plugged into an electrical outlet, stay off corded phones, and stay away from windows and doors. A hardtopped metal vehicle with the windows rolled up also provides good protection.
If you are caught outside with no safe shelter nearby, the following actions may reduce your risk:
- Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills or peaks;
- Do not lie flat on the ground; • Never shelter under an isolated tree;
- Immediately get out of the water and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water;
- Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire, power lines, windmills, etc.).
People who work outdoors in open spaces, on or near tall objects, with explosives or with conductive material, have a greater exposure to lightning risks. According to the NOAA, workers in these occupations face the most risk:
- Explosive handling or storage;
- Heavy equipment operation;
- Plumbing and pipe fitting;
- Construction and building maintenance;
- Telecommunications field repair.