Lightning is a serious and dangerous weather event. On average, it kills more people each year than tornadoes and hurricanes. According to the National Weather Service, the odds you’ll be struck by lightning during your lifetime are 1 in 5,000. Most often, thunderstorms occur in spring or summer, but they can strike anytime.
In 2009, 15 people have been killed by lightning so far. While hundreds of people are permanently injured by lightning each year, an average of 62 people in the US are killed by it. But there are practical steps you can take to avoid being a statistic.
Lightning Safety Precautions During Thunderstorms
• If you can hear thunder, seek shelter inside. Lightning can strike 10 miles from the rainy area.
• Once inside, avoid talking on corded phones and resist contact with electrical equipment like computers.
• Don’t swim in pools, even if indoors.
• Avoid contact with tubs, showers and other plumbing.
• Utilize surge protectors for important equipment, and ground fault protectors outdoors or near water.
• Wait 30 minutes after you last hear thunder before going back outside.
If you’re with someone who has been struck by lightning, you may help that person without fear of receiving an electrical charge. Often, lightning victims may need CPR until help arrives.
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