5 Tips to Stay Safe During Lightning Storms

According to the South African Journal of Science, lightning-related deaths in South Africa account for an average of between 1.5 and 8.8 per million of the population, which is said to be about four times higher than the global average.

It’s not always possible to predict where and when lightning will strike, but here are some tips that could keep you, your family and your possessions safe when there is lightning activity.

  1. Avoid these dangers.Don’t shelter under trees, near water, on high ground or in open fields. Canopy shelters or gazebos containing metal frames should also be avoided. It should go without saying, but swimming during a storm is a big no-no!
  2. If you can, head inside.The first rule of keeping safe is to head back indoors when there is lightning. It’s also important to note that lightning often occurs around the edges of a thundercloud, so just because it hasn’t started raining yet, doesn’t mean it’s safe. At the first sign of lighting or thunder, it’s best to head inside a solid building, and stay inside for at least 30 minutes after you heard the last clap of thunder – just to be safe!
  3. No buildings around? A car is a safe place to shelter. If lightning does happen to strike the car directly, it will be conducted through the metal frame of the car and into the ground. Avoid leaning on car doors during a storm, as the electricity travels through the frame.
  4. Unplug your appliances.Lightning can damage to electronics, telephones and other systems in your house that are connected to an electrical outlet - unplug them when you hear the first clap of thunder. Surge protectors can help - but remember that these are not fail-proof if the strike is a powerful one.  Check whether your insurer provides Power Surges and Dips cover. Additionally, avoid using corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that may put you in direct contact with electricity.
  5. Indoor safety. Stay away from all plumbing - including toilets, sinks and taps - as water is a conductor of electricity. Don’t forget to bring your pets inside. Dog houses and other pet shelters are not suitable protection against lightning strikes.

Lightning is very dangerous and unpredictable. Contrary to the old saying, lighting can indeed strike twice in the same place! Protect your home and its contents from damage caused by lightning by making sure you have home insurance cover.

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