10 Tips to Stay Safe In a Thunderstorm

lightning

It’s Lightning Safety Week and I’m here with ten tips to keep you safe in a thunderstorm. I’ll get you started with a surprising one. When I was growing up, my mom always told me it wasn’t safe to take a bath when there was lightning outside. I caught myself saying the same thing to my daughter the other day when it hit me that this was probably an old wives’ tale. You know what? It turns out it’s true: you should avoid showering during a thunderstorm. Aside from skipping bath night, how else can you stay safe if you spy lightning?

Follow the 30-30 rule: After you see lightning, start counting to thirty. If you hear thunder before you reach thirty, you should head inside. Stay inside until thirty minutes after you last hear thunder.

Seek shelter: Find a shelter made out of concrete and wait out the storm. If you can only find non-concrete shelter, get in your car and wait for the storm to pass instead. If you can’t do this, crouch low to the ground without touching it with your body.

Get low: Avoid high points. If you’ve been doing an outdoor activity, make sure to move downhill. Look for ditches or low spots to stand in. Don’t seek shelter under trees—especially not lone trees.

Avoid these outdoor attractions: Definitely stay away from bodies of water. Also avoid things that conduct electricity like power lines, windmills, and metal fences.

Outdoor Pets: If you have outside pets, you should bring them inside. Outdoor pet shelters aren’t substantial enough to survive a lightning strike.

No electronics: This is something else my mom used to say: no electronics if there’s lightning! Stay off corded phones and computers (I know, I know, but you do have to charge your devices so they are attached to cords on occasion), and any other devices that would put you in direct contact with electricity. You should stay off your cell phone and tablet, and turn off the TV, too.

Protect your electronics: Speaking of electronics, unplugging electronics and appliances can protect them from damage in the event of a lightning strike.

Don’t lean against walls or lay flat on the floor: This one sounded kind of weird, but the point is that doing either of these things can put your whole body in contact with places where electric wiring runs, so it’s unsafe.

Avoid water: While you’re skipping your bath or shower, also skip washing dishes, laundry, and your hands.

So make sure you have some board games on hand, because family game night is one of the only safe things to do in the middle of a thunderstorm, folks. Enjoy that quality time, and check out ready.gov and cdc.gov for more tips. (And if your kiddo is scared of storms, here are some tips for keeping them calm.)

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Christina lives in Northwest Illinois with her husband, daughter, and two English Springer Spaniels. Before becoming a reluctant stay-at-home mom, she worked in a variety of customer-service-oriented jobs while dreaming of living in the lap of luxury as a housewife. Unfortunately, having a child threw a wrench in Christina's plan to do nothing but eat bonbons while lounging in the Jacuzzi reading all day. Now, she spends her time looking for fun activities and crafts for her daughter and easy-to-prepare meals for her family, while trying not to land the kid in therapy when she grows up. Christina volunteers at her local library, and does both volunteer and paid work as a sexuality educator. She loves to read, and to learn about--and share--new products and resources.

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