Electrical Storm Safety
Electrical storms are not the most dangerous disaster, but may still present a danger. In order to remain safe during an electrical storm, it is important to prepare before a storm, know what to do during a storm, and take proper action after a storm.
Before an electrical storm:
During an electrical storm:
- Look for dark, towering clouds
- Distant lightning or thunder
- Have the following supplies on hand:
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Emergency rations and water
- Essential medications
- Money and credit card
- Check for things that may be hazardous
- Dead trees can fall during the storm
- Check for fire hazards
- Be prepared for a severe thunderstorm watch/warning to be announced
- A severe thunderstorm watch is announced by the National Weather Service when thunderstorm conditions are likely to develop.
- Locate a safe place to watch the skies and television, or listen to the radio for additional information.
- A severe thunderstorm warning is announced when a significant risk is present.
- The danger is serious and imminent so locate a safe place and turn on a battery powered radio or television for more information and for an "all clear" signal.
- Create an emergency communications plan
- Develop a plan for your family members when you are separated during a thunderstorm.
- Make arrangements for getting back together and for having a contact outside of your area to call in case of a thunderstorm.
After an electrical storm:
- If Indoors:
- Remove or secure objects outside that may become airborne or cause injuries.
- Shutter windows securely and brace outside doors.
- Listen or watch only battery powered radios or televisions
- DO NOT use electrical appliances, phones, etc.
- Avoid sources of water with metal pipes because lightning can flow through the pipes.
- If Outdoors:
- Take shelter in a building or car
- If no structure is available reach an open, low area and squat down. Do not stand near tall, lone trees or stand up in a flat open area.
- Avoid tall structures like power lines, towers, tall trees, etc.
- Stay away from natural lightning rods (e.g. metal equipment)
- Stay away from bodies of water
- If you are on an isolated, level area and feel your hair stand on end and/or a tingling feeling, bend forward and put your hands on your knees. Do not lay flat on the ground. When you feel this, it means lightning is about to strike.
- If in a Car:
- Pull on the shoulder away from objects that may fall of your car
- Stay in your car and turn emergency lights on until the heavy rain and lightning subsides.
- Avoid flooded roadways.
- During a thunderstorm, there is a possibility of hail. Hail can range from pea sized to softball sized pieces of ice. Hail can be very destructive to structures, cars, and crops. Take cover immediately and bring all animals to a safe shelter.
- A person who has been struck by lightning may have a charge that can shock other people. If the victim is burned, provide first aid treatment and call the emergency service. Provide CPR if the person has stopped breathing or if their heart has stopped.
- Report and avoid downed utility lines.
- Drive only if necessary because debris and flooded roads can be hazardous.