Thunderstorms are accompanied by lightning and may produce damaging weather such as tornadoes, hail, high winds and heavy rain. In Canada, lightning kills on average 9 to 10 people and seriously injures 92 to 164 people a year. When you are building your family emergency plan review and discuss these safety tips with your entire household to make sure everyone understands what to do.
If you are indoors:
- Stay indoors when a thunderstorm strikes. Remain indoors for at least 30 minutes since the last rumble of thunder to ensure the storm has moved well away from your location.
- Strong winds and large hailstones can shatter windows. Stay away from all windows, skylights and doors.
- Stay away from running water inside a house. Lightning can enter a house through pipes and plumbing. This means no showers or baths during a thunderstorm.
If you are outdoors:
- If you hear thunder, then lightning is close enough to be dangerous. Move immediately to a place of shelter. Go to a well-constructed, enclosed building. Small, open structures do not provide protection from lightning.
- Avoid water, high ground, isolated trees, picnic shelters and power lines.
- There isn’t a place outside that is safe during a thunderstorm. Make every effort to get into a solid shelter or metal-topped vehicle. If neither are available, find a low-lying area away from tall, pointy, isolated objects, crouch down and put your feet together. Do not lie down. Cover your ears to reduce the threat of hearing damage from thunder.
- Review and discuss the safety tips with your entire household to make sure everyone understands what to do in a severe thunderstorm.
- Designate a safe place in your home away from windows, skylights and glass doors for household members to gather during a severe storm.
- Remove existing rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.
- Make a list of items to secure or bring inside during a storm such as garbage cans and lawn furniture.
- Use a surge protector (a special safety plug unit available at discount and hardware stores) to protect electrical items throughout your home. This will automatically shut down the electricity if lightning strikes, to prevent fires and damage to individual household items.