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Friday, July 29, 2011

Stay Safe during a Lightning Storm


Since thunder and lightning storms happen frequently during the summer months, FEMA offers these tips on how to avoid injury during a lightning storm:
  • Avoid contact with corded phones.
  • Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords.  Unplug electronic equipment well before the storm arrives because power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
  • Avoid contact with plumbing and bathroom fixtures because they can conduct electricity: do not wash hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes or do laundry.
  • Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
  • Do not lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls.
  • If you're caught outside during a storm, stay away from tall trees. Avoid open fields, beaches, and boats on the water. If possible, seek shelter in a thick growth of small trees or in a low lying area.  Also avoid anything metal such as golf clubs/carts, tractors, bicycles, etc. Seek shelter in a car if possible, but avoid touching any of its metal parts. 
      Because lightning is unpredictable and can strike 10 miles outside of  any rainfall the risk to individuals and property is increased.   If you feel you hair standing on end (which indicates lightning is about to strike) squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands over your ears and your head between your knees. Make yourself the smallest target possible and minimize your contact it the ground. DO NOT lie flat on the ground.

      Lightning strike victims carry no electrical charge and should be attended to immediately.  The following are things you should check when you attempt to give aid to a victim of lightning:

  • Breathing - if breathing has stopped, begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
  • Heartbeat - if the heart has stopped, administer CPR.
  • Pulse - if the victim has a pulse and is breathing, look for other possible injuries. Check for burns where the lightning entered and left the body. Also be alert for nervous system damage, broken bones, and loss of hearing and eyesight.
Your chances of being struck by lightning are estimated to be 1 in 600,000, 
but could be reduced even further by following these safety precautions.

Information provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

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