Lightning is a powerful force of nature that’s both beautiful and destructive as well as very common in Florida. Sadly, there are many myths about lightning safety tips that lead people to put themselves in harm’s way without even realizing it.
To keep yourself and those you love safe, understanding the facts about this phenomenon is essential. It’s so important that the last week of June has been declared Lightning Safety Awareness Week in the United States.
According to an article in National Geographic, it’s estimated that more than one hundred bolts of lightning strike the Earth every second with U.S. detection systems recording 25 million strikes a year. The vast majority of these are in the state of Florida which bears the unofficial title of Lightning Capital of the U.S., recording 228 lightning strikes per square mile in 2019.
Keep the following lightning safety tips in mind the next time you’re caught in a storm.
#1 – Get Inside & Stay Unplugged
The best thing to do if a storm pops up is to seek shelter indoors. Being smart enough to come in out of the rain takes on a whole new meaning when there is lightning involved.
During a lightning storm, staying safe indoors also means avoiding contact with anything electrical. Don’t try to unplug anything, just stay clear.
It’s also important to avoid plumbing fixtures. Lightning loves water and since your plumbing is full of the stuff, it makes it a potential avenue for lightning to access your home.
If you cannot get inside, read on for additional tips to stay safe.
#2 – Don’t Try to Hide
You can’t hide from lightning and often put yourself in greater danger by trying. This includes trying to hide under a tree thinking it’ll strike the tall object first.
Lightning is arbitrary and will hit you as soon as the tree itself. Even if the lightning does hit the tree, it will send out a ground charge that can electrocute you as well as causing falling burning debris.
This same idea also leads some to think lying flat on the ground will protect them. It won’t, it provides more points for the lightning to enter your body through ground charge from nearby strikes. Go inside.
#3 – Rubber Shoes Won’t Save You
Our third lightning safety tip is one we’ve all heard since we were kids however, rubber doesn’t conduct electricity. However, the lightning doesn’t know that there’s a thin slice of rubber under your feet. It will still strike you regardless of whether the electric charge can escape into the ground. Go inside.
#4 – Get Away from Sources of Water
Water is highly conductive, and lightning is naturally drawn to it for that reason. If you’re bobbing around in a motorboat, you might as well paint a target on yourself. Get out of the water and as far away as you can. Go inside.
#5 – Lightning Will Strike Twice, Maybe Even Thrice
The Empire State Building in New York City was once used to study lightning due to its propensity for being struck by the electric charge. Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly. Go inside.
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