Red Cross Update: Thunderstorm Safety

May 12, 2008 6:38:45 AM PDT
The American Red Cross has a message to share about thunderstorm safety. Read these tips- they could be a real life saver!Top Tips for Staying Safe During a Thunder Storm
If You Are Caught Outdoors with No Shelter Nearby
If You Are Caught in a Car During a Thunderstorm
What to Do Before Lightening Strikes
What to Do After a Storm
When Someone is Struck by Lightening

Top Tips for Staying Safe During a Thunder Storm

  • Find shelter in a building or car. Keep the windows closed. Avoid convertibles. If you are in the woods when a storm approaches, take shelter under the shorter trees.
  • Avoid using the phone and electrical appliances; phone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Turn off and stay away computers, television sets, power tools, microwave ovens, etc. (Leaving on electric lights, however, does not increase the chances of your home being struck by lightening.)
  • Avoid taking a bath or shower, washing dishes, or running water for any other purpose. Metal pipes can transmit electricity.
  • Turn off the air conditioner. Power surges from lightening can overload the compressor, resulting in a costly repair job.
  • Draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break due to objects blown by the wind, the shades will prevent glass from shattering into your home
  • Secure outdoor objects like lawn furniture that could blow away or cause damage or injury.

    If You Are Caught Outdoors With No Shelter Nearby

  • Get to land and find shelter immediately if you are boating or swimming, because water conducts electricity. Go to a low, open place away from trees, poles or metal objects like bicycles, tractors, fishing rods, golf clubs and camping equipment. Make sure the place you pick is not subject to flooding.
  • If you are in the woods, take shelter under shorter trees. Never stand beneath a singer large tree in the open.
  • Be a very small target by minimizing your contact with the ground.
  • Squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet if you feel your skin tingle or your hair stand on end.
  • Place your hands on your knees with your head between them.
  • Do not lie flat on the ground?this will make you a larger target should lightning strike.
  • Get to higher ground if flash flooding or flooding is possible. Do not attempt to drive to safety. Most flash flooding deaths occur in cars.

    If You Are Caught in a Car During a Thunderstorm

  • Reduce your speed.
  • Pull off to the shoulder of the road.
  • Stay away from tall objects like trees, which could fall on the car.
  • Do not clog highway underpasses.
  • Turn on your emergency flashers.
  • Shut all the car windows.
  • Stay in the car until the storm passes. Cars offer good protection because their metal bodies conduct electricity away from their occupants.
  • Don't touch metal objects in the car.
  • Don't drive on roads covered by water ? automobile braking may be reduced by water on the road.

    What to Do Before Lightning Strikes

  • Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of light, or increasing wind. Listen for the sound of thunder.
  • Go to safe shelter immediately if you can hear thunder. That means that you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for the latest weather forecasts

    What to Do After a Storm

  • Check on neighbors who may require special assistance: infants, the elderly and people with disabilities.
  • Stay away from storm-damaged areas.
  • Avoid downed power lines. Assume that all have live electricity.
  • Continue to listen to NOAA Weather Radio and local media for the latest weather updates, information and instructions

    When Someone is Struck by Lightning

  • Call for help. Get someone to dial 911 or your local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) number.
  • Check for burns of people struck by lightening. They carry no electrical charge and can be handled safely. The injured person has received an electrical shock and may be burned where they were struck and where the electricity left their body. Check for burns in both places.
  • Give first aid: If breathing has stopped, begin rescue breathing. If the heart has stopped beating, a trained person should give CPR. You can learn first aid and CPR by taking a Red Cross course.