If not pride of owning a lightening safe house, satisfaction of ensuring safety of your family would certainly motivate you to act. Don’t wait, go through, and act fast
Make your premises lightening and thunderstorm safe
- Remove dead or rotting trees, and branches that could fall, and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.
- Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
- Invest in a lightning protection system for your home, organization, and business. A building with a properly installed lightning protection system is a smart investment as it provides proven protection for your family, home, and valuables. It is an important safety investment in areas prone to lightning. A lightning protection system supplies structural protection by providing a specified path on which lightning can travel. When a building is equipped with a lightning protection system, the destructive power of the lightning strike is directed safely into the ground, leaving the structure, and its contents undamaged. The system includes a lightning rod or air terminals at the top of the house, and wires to carry the current down to grounding rods at the bottom of the house.
- Securely anchor the lightning protection system to the roof. It may otherwise whip around in a storm, and damage the building. Make sure to have a trained, and experienced electrician to install your lightning rod, and protection system.
- Use surge protectors. Sensitive electronic equipment is particularly vulnerable to lightning. To assure the highest level of protection certified surge arrestors should be installed on electrical service panels. Installations typically include surge arrestors for the main electric panel, as well as incoming phone, cable, satellite, and data lines. Surge arrestors protect against damaging electrical surges that can enter a structure through power transmission lines.
- Surge arrestors filter, and dissipate harmful surges, and thereby prevent electrical fires, and protect against electrical discharges that can damage a building’s electrical system, computers, appliances and other systems.
- Certified transient voltage surge suppressors can also be installed to protect specific pieces of electronic equipment. Keep in mind that power strips offer little protection from electrical power surges.
- Underground utility lines, including electric, and telephone lines reduce the likelihood of damage from lightning strikes. Traditional suspended lines are much more likely to be struck, and carry lightning charge directly into a building, resulting in damage to electrical appliances, and structural damage to the building. Contact civic authorities in your area for underground utility lines.
- Check the weather forecast before participating in outdoor activities. If the forecast calls for thunderstorms, postpone your trip or activity.
- Remember the 30/30 lightning safety rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
- By counting the seconds between the lightning flash, and the thunder, and dividing by 3, you can estimate your distance from the strike in km.
- When thunder roars, go indoors: Go to a safe shelter immediately, and avoid metal structures, and constructions with metal sheeting. Safe shelters include pukka home, pukka building, or hard top vehicles with the windows rolled up.
- Prepare an emergency kit, and make a family communications plan
- Take shelter in a sturdy building.
- Avoid isolated sheds, or tents, or other small structures in open areas.
- Stay away from doors, windows, porches, balconies, sheds, and open garages.
- If a building is not available take shelter in a car with a metal roof, and keep doors, and windows closed.
- Remember, rubber-soled shoes, and rubber tyres provide no protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection, if you are not touching metal.
- If there is no building, or car in which to take shelter, minimise your risk by going to an area of lower elevation.
- Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges, or peaks, and stay away from bodies of water, and trees.
- Avoid standing under trees as they are natural lightning rods, and attract electricity.
- Never use a cliff, or rocky overhang for shelter.
- Avoid open field, beach or a boat on the water.
- Immediately get out of, and away from ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water.
- Though water bodies do not attract lightning, stay away from these as they are excellent conductors of electricity.
- If working in an outdoor watery area (e.g. paddy transplantation), immediately move out of the field to a dry area (at least to the field border).
- Ideally, find a shelter in a low-lying area, and make sure that the spot chosen is not likely to flood.
- Do not lie flat on the ground, as this will make you a bigger target.
- Do not lie down or lean against concrete surfaces.
- If no shelter is available, immediately get into the lightning crouch; squat or sit in a tight ball, arms wrapped around your legs. Keep your feet together (touching), head lowered, ears covered, and make sure to close your eyes to avoid flash blindness. This makes you as small a target as possible.
- Avoid contact with any metal object – tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, and bicycles.
- If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway, and park. Stay in the vehicle until the rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle. If you have insulation like a foam pad, or dry, metal-free bag of clothes, put it underneath you.
- If you are hiking on a hill, try to get to a lower height as quickly as possible.
- If you are in a wooded area, avoid standing near trees, and adopt the lightning safety position.
- If you are in a group, spread out as far as possible to avoid electric current passing from person to person.
- Do remember that vivid and frequent lightning indicates the probability of a strong thunderstorm.
- When you feel electric charge – if your hair stands up on the back of your neck, or your skin starts to tingle, lightning might be about to strike you. Drop to the ground immediately.
If in a building
Even though your home is a safe shelter during a lightning storm, you may still be at risk. About one-third of lightning-strike injuries occur indoors. Here are some tips to keep safe, and reduce your risk of being struck by lightning while indoors.
- Shutter windows, and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades, or curtains.
- Keep away from doors, windows, verandas, porches, concrete floors, fireplaces, stoves, bathtubs, or any other electrical conductors during a thunderstorm.
- Avoid open structures – spaces such as porches, gazebos, sports arenas (such as golf courses, parks, and playgrounds), ponds, lakes, swimming pools, and beaches.
- Do not lie on concrete floors, and do not lean against concrete walls. Lightning can travel through metal wires, or bars in concrete walls, or flooring.
- Avoid corded phones. Corded phones are not safe to use during a thunderstorm. Do not use them. However, it is safe to use cordless, or mobile phones during a storm.
- Do not use your mobile phones, or tablet computers while being charged.
- Avoid electronic equipment. Do not use your computer, laptop, game system, washer, dryer, stove, or anything connected to an electrical outlet. Lightning can travel through electrical systems, radio, and television reception systems, and any metal wires, or bars in concrete walls or flooring. Equip your home with whole-house surge protectors to protect your appliances.
- Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords. Unplug appliances, and other electrical items such as computers, TVs, and turn off air conditioners. This may also include fireplaces, radiators, stoves metal pipes, sinks, and phones. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
- Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes, do not do laundry, and stay away from running water. Plumbing, and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
- Ensure that children and pet animals are inside.
- Check the weather forecast before venturing out on outdoor activities. If the forecast warning is for thunderstorms, postpone your travel, or trip, or activity till the thunderstorm ends.
- During a thunderstorm, avoid open vehicles such as convertibles, motorcycles, and golf carts.
- Get off bicycles, motorcycles, or farm vehicles that may attract lightning.
- During a storm, remain in your vehicle until help arrives, or the storm has passed (the metal roof will provide protection if you are not touching metal inside). Keep windows shut, park away from trees, and power lines, and avoid touching metal parts.
- Move out of forested area (especially Pine forests) towards clear ground. There is possibility of start of forest fires due to lightning strike.
After the storm has passed
- Never drive through a flooded roadway. Turn around, don’t drown.
- Stay away from storm-damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk from the effects of severe thunderstorms.
- Continue to listen to a local radio, and television stations for updated information, or instructions, as access to roads, or some parts of the community may be blocked.
- Help people who may require special assistance, such as infants, children and the elderly or those with access or functional needs.
- Stay away from downed power lines, and report them immediately.
- Watch your animals closely. Keep them under your direct control.