Safe Electricity Provides Practical Tips for Staying Safe from the Threat of Lightning

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., June 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Weather Service estimates the odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime are 1 in 10,000. The odds that you will know and be affected by someone being struck are only 1 in 1000. It is simply not a risk worth taking. From 2003-2012, an average of 35 lightning fatalities were recorded, and each year, hundreds more are injured. Safe Electricity encourages you to help keep your family safe by learning what precautions and actions to take.

"There is no safe place from lightning when you are outside," warns Molly Hall, executive director of the Energy Education Council's Safe Electricity program. "To be as safe as possible, you must seek shelter indoors or in an enclosed vehicle with a metal roof and metal sides when there is a thunderstorm in the area."

A safe indoor shelter is defined as a substantial building with a full roof, walls, and a floor. Unsafe structures include covered patios, open garages, picnic shelters, and tents. A safe vehicle is one that is fully enclosed like a hard-topped car, minivan, truck, etc. Unsafe vehicles include convertibles, motorcycles, golf carts, and any open cab vehicle.

One good way to stay safe from the threat of lighting is to plan ahead. Check the forecast to know if there is a danger of severe weather, and make sure you can get to a safe location if a thunderstorm develops. Remember, if you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. It is a good idea to heed the advice of the National Weather Service, "When thunder roars, go indoors."

However, if you make it indoors, that does not mean you are completely clear from danger. Electrical current from lightning can enter your home through phone lines, electrical wires, cables, and plumbing.

During a thunderstorm, stay away from electrical outlets and any corded devices that could carry an electrical surge if lighting were to hit your home. Turn off or unplug such appliances, stay away from television sets, and do not depend on surge protectors to absorb a lightning strike. Turn off your air conditioner to protect the compressor from a power surge and avoid a costly repair job.

Avoid water and contact with piping, including sinks, baths and faucets. Do not wash dishes, shower, or bathe during a thunderstorm. Also avoid washers and dryers since they not only connect with the plumbing and electrical systems but can also contain an electrical path from the outside through the dryer vent.

"Plan outdoor activities around the weather. If thunderstorms and lightning are approaching, the safest location is indoors away from doors and windows with the shades drawn," Hall advises. "Avoid water, electric appliances, and other objects that could conduct electricity, and use only cordless or cell phones to make emergency calls."

After a storm, wait until 30 minutes have passed without lightning or thunder before returning outside. Lightning can strike up to 10 miles from the core of a thunderstorm.

If a person is struck by lightning, call 911 and care for the victim immediately. You are not in danger of being shocked or electrocuted by the victim.

For more electrical safety information, visit

Contact: Kyla Kruse, 217-546-6815, Email

SOURCE Safe Electricity


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