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Tips offered for safety during lightning storms

Thursday, June 18, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 4:31 p.m. CDT, Thursday, June 18, 2009

COLUMBIA — The Boone County Fire Protection District  reminds everyone that lightning is dangerous. At the first clap of thunder, go to a large building or fully enclosed vehicle and wait 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before you to go back outside.

The following are additional lightning safety tips:

If outdoors:

Avoid water. Avoid the high ground. Avoid open spaces. Avoid all metal objects, including electric wires, fences, machinery, motors and power tools. Unsafe places include underneath canopies, small picnic or rain shelters or near trees. Where possible, find shelter in a substantial building or in a fully enclosed metal vehicle such as a car, truck or a van with the windows completely shut.

If lightning is striking nearby when you are outside, you should:

  • Crouch down. Put feet together. Place hands over ears to minimize hearing damage from thunder.
  • Avoid proximity (minimum of 15 feet) to other people.

When to seek safe shelter:

Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles from the area where it is raining. That's about the distance you can hear thunder. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance. Seek safe shelter immediately.

Outdoor activities:

Minimize the risk of being struck. Most lightning deaths and injuries occur in the summer. Where organized outdoor sports activities take place, coaches, camp counselors and other adults must stop activities at the first roar of thunder to ensure everyone has time to get to a large building or enclosed vehicle. Leaders of outdoors events should have a written plan that all staff are aware of and enforce.

Indoor activities:

Inside buildings, stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity. Stay away from pools (indoor or outdoor), tubs, showers and other plumbing. Buy surge suppressors for key equipment. Install ground fault protectors on circuits near water or outdoors. When inside, wait 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder, before going outside again.

How to helping a lightning strike victim:

Lightning victims do not carry an electrical charge, are safe to touch and need urgent medical attention. Cardiac arrest is the immediate cause of death for those who die. Some deaths can be prevented if the victim receives the proper first aid immediately. Call 911 immediately and perform CPR if the person is unresponsive or not breathing. Use an Automatic External Defibrillator if one is available.

 

 

 

 


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