Stay Safe When Lightning Strikes

Summer is busiest storm season, experts warn

SUNDAY, July 2, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Lightning may not strike twice, but just once is enough to kill or seriously injure. And summertime is peak time for lightning -- one of the top three causes of weather-related deaths.

Lightning strikes are most common between the hours of 2 p.m. and 6 p.m, say experts at the Medical College of Georgia Sports Medicine Center, Augusta.

They offer the following safety tips:

  • Check the weather forecast 24 hours before you attend an outdoor event.
  • When you're outdoors, identify a safe location you can use if there's a storm. Safe places include buildings and fully enclosed vehicles with the windows completely closed.
  • Avoid unsafe places such as golf carts, bleachers, high ground, open spaces, pools or other bodies of water, picnic shelters, and under or near trees.
  • If you can hear or see lightning, seek shelter immediately and stay inside until there has been no thunder or lightning for at least 30 minutes. Don't wait until it rains to seek shelter because lightning can strike before there's any rain.
  • If you're caught outside and unable to seek shelter, find the lowest point and crouch down with your feet together. Stay at least seven feet away from any tall structures such as trees or poles.
  • If you're indoors during a storm, stay away from doors and windows, don't make telephone calls, and avoid using sinks and other water sources. Turn off, unplug and stay away from appliances. Remove headsets.
  • If a person has been struck by lightning, it is safe to touch them. Lightning does not leave a residual charge. Call 911 immediately and attempt CPR.

More information

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency has more about thunderstorms and lightning.

SOURCE: Medical College of Georgia, news release, June 2006
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