Frequent outdoor activity in the summer increases our potential exposure to lightning. According to the National Weather Service, lightning strikes the US about 25 million times each year and occurs mostly during the summer months. Lightning often strikes outside the area of heavy rain and may strike as far as 10 miles from any rainfall.
Many lightning deaths occur before storms arrive or after storms have seemingly passed. If you can hear thunder, you are in danger. Don’t be fooled by blue skies, if you can hear thunder, lightning is close enough to pose an immediate threat. Have a lightning safety plan. Know where you’ll go for safety and how much time it will take to get there. Make sure your plan allows enough time for you to reach safety.
Remember: When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!
What You Need to Know:
- NO PLACE outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area.
- Monitor the weather. Look for signs of a developing thunderstorm such as darkening skies, flashes of lightning, or increasing wind.
- If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.
- When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter.
- Stay in the shelter for at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.
- Stay off corded phones, computers, or other electronic devices
- Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches
- Do not lie on concrete floors, and do not lean against concrete walls
If you are caught outside with no safe shelter anywhere nearby the following actions may reduce your risk:
- Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks
- Never lie flat on the ground
- Never shelter under an isolated tree
- Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter
- Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water
- Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines)
For more information go to: http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/safety.shtml
Written by: Steven Gately, PharmD candidate 2018