Summer is finally here. With it though comes the inevitable thunderstorms and lightning. This first full week of summer is also Lightning Safety Week. Already this year, seven deaths are the result of a lightning strike.
Four of the deaths were in Florida. The other three were in Michigan, New Mexico and Texas. Each year approximately 37 deaths are the result of a lightning strike, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Outdoor safety tips:
- Get inside.
- Do not stand under a lone tree.
- Do not lie flat on the ground.
- Avoid hills and cliffs.
- Barbed wire fences conduct electricity, as do chain-link fences.
- Bring in any pets.
- Allot 30 minutes after the last strike before resuming activities.
Indoor Safety Tips:
- Stay off land lines and other electronic equipment, including computers.
- Stay away from windows and doors.
- Avoid plumbing.
- Do not lean against concrete walls.
Preparing for storm:
- Clear away dead trees and limbs that might cause damage if struck.
- Unplug electronics, such as computers, if the power goes out. This avoids a power surge when the power does get restored.
- Secure outdoor patio furniture, including grills.
- Charge your cell phone before the storm hits.
Last week, a thunderstorm rolled through eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey causing damage and power outages. WPVI, out of Philadelphia, reported an approximate 1000 customers in New Jersey who lost power due to the storm. Another 30,000 lost power in Bucks County, according to the Associated Press (AP).
The AP also reported an abandoned home in Highland Township, Chester County was destroyed during the storm and in Harrisburg lightning struck a scrap metal yard. The crap yard fire included cars, bikes, tractors and plastic burning, according to FireEngineering.com.
Be safe. Be prepared. Don’t become a statistic.