When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!

Thunderstorm

Thunderstorms and lightning can be deadly. The American Red Cross wants you to know what you should do to stay safe “When Thunder Roars”.

Thunderstorms and lightning occur more at this time of the year, but can happen year round. They happen more often in the afternoon and evening, but can strike at any time of the day or night.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), lightning is still one of the top three storm-related killers in the United States, causing about 51 fatalities a year. Most lightning victims survive but can suffer debilitating symptoms.

The Red Cross has important steps you can follow to stay safe during a thunderstorm:

  • Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of light, or increasing wind. Listen for the sound of thunder.
  • If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for the latest weather forecasts.
  • As the storm approaches, take shelter in a building. If you are driving, pull off the roadway and park. Stay in the car with the windows closed and turn on the emergency flashers. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside of the vehicle.
  • If you are inside, you should:

  • Unplug appliances. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. (Leaving electric lights on, however, does not increase the chances of your home being struck by lightning.)
  • Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.
  • Turn off the air conditioner. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressor, resulting in a costly repair job.
  • Draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break due to objects blown by the wind, the shades will prevent glass from shattering into your home.
  • If you are caught outside during a thunderstorm and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground; water; tall, isolated trees and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are not safe.

    If someone is struck by lightning, check them for burns and other injuries. If the person has stopped breathing, call 9-1-1 and begin CPR. People can learn how to take care of someone in an emergency by taking First Aid and CPR/AED training online or in person. Go to redcross.org/takeaclass for more information.

    About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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