Summer Storm Safety

April 29, 2020

Spring is here, and while that means more time spent outdoors, it can also bring the threat of dangerous storms. In recognition of Severe Weather Awareness Week earlier this month, we wanted to share some summer storm safety tips with you.

Lightning Safety
If you hear thunder, lighting is close enough to post an immediate threat. Lightning can strike from 10 miles away, so if you can hear thunder, you are in danger of being struck by lightning.

If you are outside, seek shelter as quickly as possible. Substantial buildings such as offices, schools, and homes offer good protection. Once inside, stay away from windows and doors and anything that conducts electricity such as corded phones, wiring, plumbing, and anything connected to these items.

If you are caught outside with no safe shelter anywhere nearby, the following actions may reduce your risk:

  • Never shelter under a tree, tower or utility pole. Lightning tends to strike the taller objects in an area and these items can conduct electricity.
  • Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks.
  • Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water.
  • Stay away from other objects that conduct electricity, including wires and fences.
  • Never lie flat on the ground.

Stay Away from Downed Power Lines

If you see a downed power line, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Stay away from it and call 911 to report it immediately. There is no way to tell if a power line is energized just by looking at it. Always assume it can carry currents strong enough to kill.
  • Never drive over a downed power line if it is blocking your driveway or road. Call 911 to report it and find another route.
  • If a power line falls on your car or otherwise contacts your vehicle, stay in your vehicle. Use your cell phone to call 911 and wait for help to arrive.
  • The only reason you would need to exit your vehicle is if your vehicle starts on fire. If you must exit your vehicle, cross your arms over your shoulders and jump with both feet out of the car making sure not to lean backward touch the vehicle. Shuffle a safe distance.

Sources: FEMA, Great River Energy