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Fire Restoration, In The CommunityPublished May 24, 2017Last Updated June 26, 2018

How to Stay Safe During a Thunderstorm

Thunderstorms can create hazards like lightning, flash flooding, tornadoes, strong winds, and hail. Did you know that, on average, lightning kills 51 people every year in the U.S.? Also, flash flooding is the deadliest thunderstorm-associated hazard, with more than 140 victims yearly. When a thunderstorm occurs, do you know what to do to stay safe? Find out below:

If you’re outdoors:

  • Get inside a sturdy building. Don’t take shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees, in picnic areas, or in convertible automobiles.
  • If a sturdy shelter is not available:
    • Get inside a hardtop automobile and shut the windows. Don’t touch any surface in the vehicle that conducts electricity.
    • Don’t attempt to drive to safety as most flash flooding deaths occur in automobiles.
    • In a forest, take shelter under small trees surrounded by taller trees or find a dry, low area like a depression or ravine. Avoid lone trees and other tall structures.
    • In an open area, find a low spot away from trees, fences, and poles. Become the smallest target possible — crouch down on your heels, head between the knees and ears covered. Minimize your contact with the ground and don’t lie down flat.
    • If your city is prone to flash flooding or flooding, move to higher ground.
    • Stay about 15 feet away from other people if you’re in a group.
  • Stay out of water, off the beach, and get out of small boats or canoes.
  • Avoid metal objects, such as clothes lines, and fences. Remove your backpack because it likely has metal pieces.

If you’re indoors:

  • Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches. Stay in the inner rooms of the building, and keep drapes and blinds closed.
  • Avoid using corded phones unless it’s an emergency. Cordless or mobile phones are safe to use.
  • Don’t use electrical equipment or appliances. Unplug them in case of a power surge.
  • Avoid water — don’t take a shower, wash your hands, wash dishes or do laundry. Stay out of the bathtub.
  • Don’t lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls as the wire mesh in them can conduct electricity.
  • Bring pets inside before the storm arrives.

As lightning is a major risk during thunderstorms, learn more tips on How to Stay Safe from Lightning. Children can experience panic attacks during thunderstorms — check out How to Ease Your Child’s Fear of Thunderstorms. For flood water damage repair and mold remediation service, contact your local PuroClean office.