By Tamas Mondovics

When thunder is heard, the potential of being struck by lightning is not far off, something most Floridians are well aware of.

To help families reduce their risk of lightning injuries and protect their home, the non-profit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) has recently recommended the review of such safety tips, the first of which echoes the most basic tip; seek shelter. FLASH instructs residents to stay alert and listen carefully for the first signs of lightning or thunder and to remember the now often heard famous phrase, “If Thunder Roars, Go Indoors.”

Lightning often hits before the rain begins, so FLASH instructs residents not to wait for the rain before leaving the party. Other tips include:

If Outdoors:

 – Avoid water, high ground and open spaces.

 – Stay away from metal objects including wires, fences and motors.

 – Find shelter in a sizable building or in a fully enclosed metal vehicle. Completely close the windows and don’t lean on the doors.

 – Don’t get under a small canopy, small picnic shelter or near trees.

 – If you cannot take shelter indoors, crouch down with your feet together and place your hands over your ears to minimize hearing damage from the thunder.

 – Stay at least 15 ft. away from other people.

If Indoors:

 – Avoid water and stay away from doors and windows.

 – Do not use landline telephones or headsets. Cell phones are safe.

 – Turn off, unplug and stay away from appliances, computers, power tools and televisions sets as lightning may strike exterior electric and phone lines inducing shocks to equipment inside.

After the Storm:

 – Don’t resume activities until at least 30 minutes after the last lightning strike or thunderclap.

 – Call 911 immediately if anyone is injured and use first aid procedures. Lightning victims do not carry an electrical charge, so it is safe to administer medical treatment.

Use Surge Protective Devices:

 – These systems protect electronic and electrical appliances from all but the most severe electrical surges or direct strikes.

 – They should be installed at all items to be protected. A good electrical grounding system is essential.

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