Lightning Safety Guidelines

Did you know lightning strikes injure nearly one hundred individuals and tragically claim 2 to 3 lives annually in Canada? These statistics should give you pause the next time you contemplate playing an extra round of golf or hiking an additional mile when a thunderstorm looms on the horizon.

While summer is typically considered the peak season for thunderstorms and lightning, these electrifying storms can strike at any time and in almost any location throughout the year. To ensure your safety and that of your loved ones during a lightning storm, here’s a guide with essential tips.

How Can I Protect Myself?

First and foremost, it’s crucial to grasp that there is no haven outdoors during a lightning storm. If thunderstorms are in the forecast, it’s imperative to halt any outdoor activities promptly—whether you’re mowing the lawn or enjoying a picnic. Numerous lightning-related casualties occur because individuals delay seeking shelter.

Keep a vigilant eye on local weather conditions and formulate a plan when thunderstorms are expected. A lightning protection system is the most effective defence against a lightning strike for your home. To learn more, consider contacting a certified lightning protection specialist for valuable information and guidance.

What if I Find Myself Outdoors During a Storm?

When you hear thunder, cease all outdoor activities and seek refuge in a building or a vehicle with a solid roof. While the allure of finding shelter in a golf cart or a makeshift lean-to may be strong, these options need to offer more protection.

If reaching safety is not feasible, steer clear of open fields, hilltops, tall trees, or other prominent objects. Instead, seek the lowest point available, such as a ravine or valley, and assume a baseball catcher’s position—heels touching, ears covered, and head positioned between your knees. Minimize contact with the ground and avoid lying flat. Avoiding water and any metal objects, such as golf clubs or bicycles, is crucial.

What If I’m Indoors?

While you might be tempted to pass the time by watching television or shopping online during a storm, your safest course of action is to unplug televisions, computers, and other valuable electronics well before the storm arrives. Once the storm commences, avoid touching any electrical equipment or cords, including corded phones. Using cellular or cordless phones during the storm is acceptable. Ensure you stay away from windows and doors and avoid being on porches. Additionally, it’s wise to postpone baths or showers during storms, as water conducts electricity. If a lightning strike hits your home during a storm, electricity may travel through water and pose a hazard while bathing or showering.

What If I’m Driving?

Exit the roadway or highway promptly and find a safe spot to park. Remain inside your vehicle with the emergency flashers activated until the storm subsides. Avoid touching metal or any conductive surfaces that could transmit electricity.

What If Lightning Strikes My House?

If you suspect your home has been struck by lightning, immediately call 911 and evacuate if you detect fire or smoke. Consider requesting your local fire department to inspect for any hot spots within your walls. If your heating and cooking rely on gas, contact your gas company or a licensed contractor to perform a leak test before re-entering your home. Lightning strikes have been known to puncture gas system components, requiring caution and inspection.

Have a Home Insurance

Having home insurance means you’re protected in the case of a lightning storm. Contact our home insurance brokers in Alpine Insurance for more information.

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