Thunderstorm / Lightning Safety Tips - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

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.

The following safety tips can protect you from lightning.

- NO PLACE outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area!

-  If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you. 

- When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter: a substantial building with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up. 

- Stay in safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder. 

- Stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity. 

- Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths and faucets. 

- Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches. 

- Do not lie on concrete floors, and do not lean against concrete walls. 

If you are caught outside with no safe shelter anywhere nearby the following actions may reduce your risk:

- Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks.

- Never lie flat on the ground.

- Never shelter under an isolated tree.

- Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter.

- Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water.

- Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines, windmills, etc.).

Source:  National Weather Service

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