Lightning Safety Awareness, Part 3

By: Stephen Bowers Email
By: Stephen Bowers Email

Lightning struck four people in the Florida panhandle over the weekend. This is Lightning Safety Awareness Week. There are things you can do to protect yourself from lightning while indoors.

Some structures are safer than others. The building you enter to take shelter from lightning should be a closed and not something like a picnic shelter, shed, or any other partially open structure.

When lightning is nearby, there are things you should keep in mind even when you are inside.

"Don't talk on the telephone unless it's a cell phone. Even that's not recommended because you could pick up some static discharge and it could do some ear damage," said John Baxter of the National Weather Service. "Don't take a shower; don't get in the bath tub. Just do whatever you normally do. Basically do not touch anything metallic or electronic and you should be in fine shape."

Buildings can be hit by lightning, too. So what makes a safe building safe? Some buildings are safe because of the wiring and plumbing.

The electrical current from lightning can travel through the wires and plumbing and into the ground, and that is why you do not want to be in the shower or on the computer during a thunderstorm. In fact, it's best to unplug your computers and other major electrical appliances in your home to protect them.

You also want to be sure to stay away from windows and doors since lightning can strike through them.

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