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Lightning safety tips everyone should know

We live in the "Lightning Capital" of the world -- and far too many injuries occur simply because people don't understand the danger. For example, a motorcyclist was recently killed by a lightning strike while driving on Interstate 95. House and apartment fires following lightning strikes have also been on the news.

Many of us -- myself included -- grew up believing that you could stay safe in an electrical storm by hiding under a tree. We also thought that it was safe to sit out storms in a car because the car's rubber tires would ground out the lightning. Well, we were wrong! Here are the facts about lightning safety:

  • Running under a tree is never safe in an electrical storm. The tree is a potential target and the roots under your feet will carry the electricity from a strike to your body.
  • Staying in your car is moderately safer only because the metal can disperse the energy from a lightning strike.
  • The safest place to be during an electrical storm is indoors -- so try to find a temporary shelter if you're out when a storm kicks up.

Here are some tips for managing the situation -- wherever you may be.

When you see a storm:

Part of staying safe is recognizing your danger.

  • Don't delay the decision to take shelter. Lightning can strike a half hour before the storm.
  • If you're outside, look for shelter. If no shelter is readily available, move away from metal surfaces like exposed construction, heavy equipment and metal fences.
  • Move away from other conductors of electricity, like ponds, trees, power poles and concrete bridges (which have steel beams inside).
  • Do not lay flat on the ground, but crouch down in a low spot.

If you're able to get indoors:

  • Stay away from windows during the storm. Lightning can pass through glass.
  • Stay off your phone and away from other sources of electricity.
  • Stay away from faucets and do not take a bath or shower until the storm passes.
  • Wait at least 30 minutes after the storm to venture back out.

Many times, construction workers are encouraged to keep working until the last possible minute during a storm -- which can put their lives at risk from lightning. If you were injured on the job due to a lightning strike, you need to find out more about your legal options.

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Wieland & DeLattre
226 Hillcrest St.
P.O. Box 944
Orlando, FL 32802

Phone: 407-841-7699
Phone: 321-639-4777
Fax: 407-841-2084
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