How to Stay Safe in a Thunderstorm
Thunder roars loudly and can be very frightening – but by itself can’t really hurt anyone. Its two most fearsome companions however, can be very dangerous indeed:
- Lightning killed an average of 31 people a year between 2006 and 2015, and injured another 279.1 Your estimated odds of being struck in an 80-year lifespan are 1 in 13,000.1 And yes, those are higher odds than winning a fortune in the lottery.
- Hail can happen during any strong storm, hurling chunks of ice to the earth at speeds up to 120 mph – and they range in size from a pea to a grapefruit! That’s a hefty projectile.
So to protect yourself, your family and home from these real dangers takes a little bit of knowledge and preparation. Here are some hail and lighting safety tips:
Know the “30/30” rule: When you see a lightning flash, start counting. If you don't make it to 30 before hearing the thunder, head indoors. Then stay indoors until 30 minutes after hearing the last boom of thunder.
If you’re already indoors
- Avoid using corded phones and electronics such as computers or power tools. Electrical wires can conduct lightning.
- Don't use your cell phone during a thunderstorm.
- Don't wash your hands, shower, wash dishes or do laundry. Metal pipes in the plumbing can also conduct lightning.
- High winds and hail can shatter glass, so stay away from windows, skylights and doors.
- Keep drapes and blinds closed to prevent hail-shattered glass from blowing in or flying around.
If you're outside when a storm hits
- Take shelter when you see dark clouds or lightning, hear thunder or feel hail.
- Head for an enclosed building, rather than a carport or open garage.
- No enclosed structure? Get inside a hardtop, all-metal car, truck or SUV. Avoid leaning against vehicles.
- Get off bicycles and motorcycles.
- If no shelter from lightning is available, squat down and put your hands on your knees with your head in between to make yourself a smaller target.
- If you’re in the water, head for shore immediately and avoid metal objects. Water and metal can both carry an electrical current.
- If you're in a group of people, spread out.
- Take care of your pets by bringing them inside. Doghouses are not lightning- or hail-proof.
Storm and flood damage can be devastating. Immediate action is needed, and you need the company with storm damage experience. SERVPRO of Paducah’s Professionals have the expertise and the resources to handle any size disaster and can respond immediately to storm and flooding conditions.