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Ohio Emergency Management Agency

Thunderstorm / Lightning Safety Tips

The following safety tips can protect you during a thunderstorm.

- If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lighting. Go to safe shelter immediately, such as a sturdy building or car. Do not take shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees or in convertible automobiles.

- Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Do not use a telephone during a storm unless it is an absolute emergency. Unplug all unnecessary appliances BEFORE the storm approaches. Avoid using electrical appliances during the storm.

- Turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lighting can overload the compressors.

- Do not take a bath or shower during a storm. Water is an electrical conductor.

The following safety tips can help when you are caught outdoors and no shelter is nearby:

- If lighting is occurring and a shelter is not available, get inside a hard top automobile and keep the windows up. The roof of the vehicle protects you, not the rubber tires.

- If no automobile is available, find a low spot away from trees, fences and poles. Be alert to the possibility of flash flooding.

- If you are in the woods, take shelter under short trees or bushes.

- If you feel your skin tingle or your hair stand on end, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest target possible and minimize your contact with the ground.

- If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately.

- Stay away from open outdoor spaces.

For more information on lighting safety and education, visit the National Weather Service Web site at www.lightingsafety.noaa.gov and the Lighting Protection Institute Web site at www.lighting.org.
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