How to Avoid Lightning Strikes

Stay safe during thunder and lightning storms

Lightning strikes are fairly common across the country.  Thunderstorms present major safety hazards and can damage property.  The cloud-to-ground lightning strikes at the center of these thunderstorms can be very dangerous whether you are indoors or out.  But there are several things you can do to avoid lighting strikes, to yourself and your home.

Don't pick up the phone during a thunderstorm.  Avoid using the telephone, especially the corded variety, unless it's an absolute emergency.  Cell phones are OK to use in a thunderstorm.

Alt=Thunderstorm and Lightning Storms SafetyThunderstorm Safety: What NOT To Do

Avoid using electricity and plumbing inside your home.  Your home's electrical and plumbing systems can be conductive dangers when lightning strikes, so stop any related activities if you know that a thunderstorm is on its way.

All electrical equipment such as televisions, computers and appliances should be shut down and unplugged, as should your air conditioner, which can end up with a damaged compressor if there's a lightning-induced power surge. Also, avoid tasks that involve contact with pipes or running water. That means no use of sinks or showers, and no laundry chores. Finally, stay away from windows and doors, and don't lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls.

Keep pets indoors during a thunderstorm.  Outdoor doghouses aren't usually lightning-safe shelters, so be sure to bring all pets indoors before a storm.

Don't go outside during a thunderstorm.  You may be tempted to get a closer look at a storms spectacle, but don't. Stay off of your porch or deck and stick to safety zones indoors. If you're already outdoors when a storm looms, quickly get to the shelter of a large, fully enclosed building (partially enclosed structures such as sheds, pavilions and carports are not safe options) or an enclosed metal vehicle.

If neither of these is immediately possible, make sure you're far away from any isolated trees or other tall objects, metal items such as poles and fences, and any recreational equipment that contains metal, like your bike or backpack. Instead of lying flat on the ground when trapped in an open area outdoors, get into a crouch by putting your feet together, squatting low, tucking your head and covering your ears.

Don't stay on the road during a thunderstorm.  It's best not to be on the road at all during a thunder and lightning storm if you can help it, but if you're caught in one, safety depends on care and common sense. Pull off to the shoulder of the road in a spot that's well away from trees or anything else that could fall on your car. Turn on your emergency flashers and remain in the car until the storm passes, avoiding all metal surfaces inside the vehicle in the meantime.   

These safety tips can help you avoid dangerous lightning strikes and help keep your home and family safe.