April showers bring…May showers? For the past couple of weeks, spring showers have made the weather a little less predictable and brought more thunderstorms to the area. With potentially dangerous weather, it is important to know how to protect yourself. “When thunder roars, go indoors”(NOAA). According to the National Weather Service, if you can hear thunder, lightning is close enough to pose an immediate threat.

Once you are safe inside a house or car, avoid using any device connected to electricity, including corded phones and computers. Although a hot bath or shower may be relaxing during a storm, steer clear of baths, faucets, and sinks. Save the dishes for a non-rainy day! Finally, stay away from windows and doors. It may be tempting to witness mother nature in all her glory, but it is safest to do so from afar.

Lightning strikes over 400 people in the United States every year, causing between 55 and 60 fatalities (CDC). If you witness someone struck by lightning, call 911 (it is safe to use a cell phone during a storm), assess the scene, and if the victim is not breathing, begin CPR immediately. Before making outdoor plans this summer, be sure to check the weather and know what to do in case of a thunderstorm.

Outdoor Risk Reduction

These tips should be used only if an indoor space is not an option.

  1. Get off elevated areas (hills, mountain ridges or peaks)
  2. Never lie flat on the ground
  3. Do not seek shelter under trees
  4. Never use a cliff on a rocky overhang as shelter
  5. Get out of, and away from any body of water (ponds, lakes, ocean, pool)
  6. Stay away from conductive objects (metal fences, power lines, windmills, etc.)

Sources: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Weather Services, LifeWork Strategies EAP, and Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For medical advice, consult your physician. Feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.