Lightning safetyThose who live in Central Florida know that is the lightning capital of the United States. With potential thunderstorms every day during the rainy season, it is no wonder that Floridians must take extra precautions to protect themselves, their families, and their property. Safety begins with education and by following these tips, you can sharply reduce the risk of harm to you and your loved ones during any and all of Florida’s infamous lightning storms.

Protecting Yourself and Your Family Outdoors

First and foremost, it is imperative to know how to react to lightning when outdoors or indoors. The most important thing to do during a severe lightning storm is to seek shelter indoors. If you cannot go indoors, it is imperative to stay away from bodies of water, trees, and elevated landmasses. It is critical to remain lower than surrounding objects but do not ever lie flat on the ground.

Educating Children

Educating your children on how to behave during lightning storms is a powerful factor in keeping them safe. It is important to teach them that, if they hear thunder, lightning is probably close and they should seek shelter inside. Remind them that they should never seek shelter under a lone tree and swimming pools should never be used during a storm. Make sure that they understand that they need to stay away from metal objects and avoid the use of electronics. If you have a family pet, make sure that the children know to bring it indoors during a storm.

Protecting Yourself and Your Family Indoors

If you can find shelter indoors, stay away from windows and do not use any electronic devices that are plugged into the walls. It is also better to avoid plumbing such as showers and baths. Both electronics and plumbing have the ability to conduct electricity during a storm and could result in explosions and injuries.

Concrete floors and walls also have the potential to conduct electricity and should be avoided. Make sure pets are away from windows, preferably an interior room that will allow them to remain calm. It is typically a good idea to unplug electronic devices or to purchase a surge protector to avoid damaging the electronics or causing injury.

In general, lightning safety tips consist of the following:

  • When thunder is heard, proceed immediately indoors
  • If no shelter is available, get low to the ground without lying flat, and separate
  • Avoid high, isolated objects such as  trees and towers
  • Avoid bodies of water such as swimming pools and lakes
  • When indoors, stay away from doors, windows, plumbing, and electronics
  • Educate all members of the family on lightning safety