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How to Stay Safe During a Thunderstorm

Lightning bolt and thunderhead storms over Denver neighborhood homes

Compared to tornadoes and hurricanes, thunderstorms may not seem all that serious. However, lightning, hail, and high wind can be plenty dangerous to you and your property. Follow these tips to stay safe when the next thunderstorm strikes.

Stay Up-to-Date

When the sky starts to turn dark, tune into your local news or radio station for weather updates. If you hear the forecaster issue a thunderstorm watch, this means a storm is possible near you. Prepare to move to a safe location in case a storm develops. A thunderstorm warning means a storm has been spotted in your area. Take immediate steps to keep you and those around you safe.

Stay Safe Outdoors

If you’re outside when you hear the sound of thunder, stop what you’re doing and head to a safe place. Remember these tips:

  • A building is the safest place to be during a thunderstorm. The next best bet is a hard-topped car with the windows rolled up.
  • If there is no shelter around you, go to the lowest-lying area possible and crouch down.
  • Keep away from trees, water, and anything metal, including sheds, picnic tables, bleachers, clotheslines, utility poles, and fences.
  • If you’re with a group of people, stay at least 15 feet apart to prevent the crowd from attracting lightning.

Go Indoors if Possible

If you can go inside, do so. If you’re already indoors when the thunderstorm hits, stay safe with these tips:

  • Avoid showering, bathing, doing dishes, or washing your hands during a thunderstorm.
  • Don’t use a corded telephone because lightning could strike an exterior phone line.
  • Turn off and stay away from electronic devices, including computers and appliances.
  • Keep away from windows and doors.
  • Stay off the porch.

Wait to Go Back Outside

By definition, all thunderstorms contain lightning. Once the rain begins to subside, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe to go back outdoors. Lightning can occur outside the area with the heaviest rainfall, striking the ground up to 10 miles away from the storm.

To check the distance, watch for lightning through a window. After you see a flash, count the seconds until you hear the boom. Then, divide this number by five. That’s how many miles away the lightning is from you.

Play it safe, and follow the 30-30 rule before going back outside. If you hear thunder less than 30 seconds after you see the flash, lightning is still within six miles of you, so it’s too soon to go outside. Once the count is higher than 30 seconds, wait another 30 minutes to resume outdoor activities.

Your family’s safety is your most important concern, but it’s also possible for your home to be damaged in a thunderstorm. If this occurs, turn to DKI for help. We are North America’s largest disaster restoration network, offering storm damage repair from coast to coast. For help recovering from a natural disaster, please contact us online or call us at 844-354-2255 today.