Lightning is one of the leading weather-related causes of death and injury in the United States. According to the National Weather Service, these electric bolts strike the U.S. roughly 25 million times each year. It’s statistics like that that has caused the National Lightning Safety Council to dedicate a full week each year to raise awareness about the dangers of lightning.
Since 2001, lightning safety awareness week has marked the last full week of June every year. Everyone knows lightning when they see it but may not fully know what causes it. The official definition of lightning, according to National Geographic, states that lightning is an electrical discharge caused by imbalances between storm clouds and the ground, or within the clouds themselves.
Staying safe in the event of a lightning storm requires proper knowledge. Understanding more about lightning is the best first step you can take to protect yourself, your loved ones and your home.
Here are a few tips you should know:
- Lightning causes deadly electric currents that can travel on the ground up, affecting areas up to 100 feet away.
- Use the 30-30 rule. When you see lightning, count to 30, if you hear thunder before you reach 30 you are within six miles of the lightning and should take shelter.
- The Fourth of July is historically one of the deadliest times of the year for lightning.
- Surge protectors do not protect against lightning strikes. In the case of a storm, always unplug all electrical equipment.
- Lightning does, in fact, strike the same place twice (and quite regularly).
Preparing for a thunderstorm is the next step of enacting lightning safety in your home. There are plenty of products such as lightning rods or a lightning protection system to protect your home. Even though the majority of lightning strike victims happen outside, it is smart to understand the safety for staying inside.
- Do not use corded electronics during a storm as lightning can travel through outside wires into a building.
- Avoid all plumbing during the storm (this includes activities such as showering, hand washing, dishes and laundry).
- Stay away from the outer edges of rooms, especially if they are concrete. Lightning can travel through any metal, including wires or bars in the walls or floors.
Check out our blog for other home safety tips, whether you’ve just bought a fixer-upper or are looking to update your current home.