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Be prepared for Lightning in Storms
Posted on: 06/26/2013
By  Andy Rex
With summer, comes thunderstorms, and lightning.
 
And while it may look appealing, lightning is actually the third largest weather-related killer in the country.  This week is Lightning Safety Awareness Week, and Faith Borden with the National Weather Service in Charleston says be prepared.
 
“If you can ground your house, that’s a great thing to do," Borden says.  "You want to stay off corded telephones.  You don’t want to have your electronic devices on during a lightning storm.  You really just want to take precautions.”
 
She says the best thing you can do is plan ahead by checking the forecast and sky conditions.  Then, postpone outdoor activities until after a storm passes.  And if you happen to get caught outside.

“You want to go in a structure," Borden explains.  "If you’re in a field area where you’re maybe at a baseball field, go into the bath house.  It may not be the best place, but go in to the bath house.  Go in to the scoring shack or someplace like that.  If you’re out at the park, go in to a vehicle.  As long as it’s a hard top vehicle, that’s a very safe place to be.”
 
Borden says a big myth about lightning is that a car’s tires protect you from being hit.  In fact, she says it’s the whole vehicle that protects you.
 
“In reality, you’re sitting inside a hard top vehicle, so you’re kind of sitting in a cage," Borden says.  "When the lightning strikes the vehicle somewhere, it basically runs around that steel or aluminum cage you’re sitting in.  And, it comes out at the point where it’s contacting the ground – which is the tires.  That’s why people wrongly feel it’s the rubber on the tires that protects them.”
 
The odds of being struck by lightning aren’t great, but if it happens, Borden says to get them help immediately.
 
“They are not electronically charged," Borden says.  "So, you want to go through your steps of conducting CPR.  Check and see if they’re breathing and if they have a pulse.  If not, start CPR and by all means, call 9-1-1 instantaneously.”
 
You can learn more about lightning safety at www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov
 
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