Lightning Awareness Week: Indoor lightning safety

WSAV NOW Weather

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Wednesday is day three of lightning awareness week and the topic is indoor lightning safety, the place we always tell you to go during a storm. 

There is no safe place while outdoors during a thunderstorm. Being indoors in a well-built sturdy structure offers the best protection from lightning strikes. We always say, “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors.” Even though that is the best place to be, we still need to practice some caution to prevent being injured by lightning strikes when we are sheltering from a storm.

The majority of people are killed by lightning while engaging in outdoor activities. A small percentage of all lightning injuries happen while people are indoors. Lightning’s electric current can enter structures by traveling through electrical wires, phone wires, cable T.V. wires, and even a home’s plumbing system. Sometimes lightning can enter through open windows or doors. Close all windows and doors to prevent lightning from directly entering the home.

Most injuries from lightning strikes happen while people are using electric devices that are plugged into an outlet or connected to phone and cable T.V. systems. This may include televisions and computers. The use of computers is something people often do not think about, but the keyboard and mouse are connected to the computer with wires that can carry the current directly to you if your house is hit by a lightning strike.

A good way to protect electronic devices is to not use them during thunderstorms and unplug them from electric outlets and disconnect them from phone and cable systems to prevent the electric current from flowing into them. Surge protectors or power strips are also great tools for protecting electronic devices. When the electric current becomes higher than what is normal in your house, they automatically sense that and trips its internal power breaker that stops the extra electric current from damaging your electronics. 

Using electronic devices is not the only way you can be injured inside during thunderstorms. It is possible for lightning’s electric current to enter and to travel through your home’s plumbing system since most water pipes are. Most indoor water pipes are made with copper which is the same material as electrical wires making pipes very good conductors of electricity. It is that during thunderstorms that you avoid running water. This includes avoiding taking showers or baths, and even hand washing dishes. 

Sheltering inside and avoiding running water and using electronic devices will help to keep you and your family safe during thunderstorms.

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