While rare, lightning kills an average of 49 people each year in the United States, and hundreds more are injured. Beyond that, lighting can cause severe damage to your home’s electrical systems and electronic equipment as well as everything else should a fire break out if your home is struck by lightning.
Lightning is the most dangerous and frequently-encountered weather hazard that most people experience each year, according to the National Severe Storm Laboratory. So how can you best protect yourself, and your home, during a lightning storm? By following these tips.
According to the National Weather Service, lightning rods and their accompanying systems are a great help in protecting your house from lightning-initiated fire. A properly installed lightning protection system will protect your home by diverting lightning strikes safely into the ground. It will also protect against power surges and lightning damage to vulnerable appliances. If you live in an area where severe storms are relatively common, consider installing a lightning protection system.
Be sure to check your insurance policy to see if your insurance company covers lighting damage. If you live in a storm-prone area and that coverage is optional, seriously consider adding it on.
When indoors during a storm, at the first clap of thunder, make sure you:
avoid water (don’t shower or take a bath), avoid using electronic equipment, and avoid corded phones. Lightning can travel through the electrical system of your house and injure or kill you in this way.
If you are outdoors when lightning storms are nearby try to get to an indoor location. If that is not possible, keep away from tall objects—including trees and utility poles. Find a low-lying area and crouch down with your hands on your knees until the storm has passed. This will reduce your chances of being hit by lightning and keep you in minimal contact with the ground.