COLUMBUS, Ga — It is National Lightning Safety Awareness Week. The most important message you can remember is to take lightning seriously. Doing that begins when you hear that first rumble of thunder– that’s when you should head indoors. After a storm clears, Senior Meteorologist Kurt Schmitz says remaining inside for thirty minutes after you hear that last clap of thunder is a good idea.
Lightning is a serious, destructive, and deadly natural force. We just cannot predict where or when it will strike.
“Studies have shown that about 85% of victims of lightning strikes are children and young men ages 10-35 who are engaged in recreation or are outdoors working,” says Justin Tomczak, who works with State Farm Media Relations and Issues Management.
June, July, and August are big months for thunderstorms. If you are outside, take shelter immediately when you hear thunder. If you cannot make it into a fully enclosed structure, such as a house, then get inside a vehicle. The vehicle should be a hard-top car, no convertibles, with all the windows rolled up. If trapped outside, never stand under a tree. If you are swimming or standing near water, you need to move away from it as quickly as possible.
Inside the house during a lightning storm, do not talk on landlines. Also, avoid handling appliances that conduct electricity, in case your house gets struck. If that were to happen, appliances can carry the electricity through your body.
To protect high end items, such as TVs, stereos, and computers, you should purchase surge protectors.
State Farm Insurance says this is the second year that Georgia tops its list as the state with the most lightning claims. The insurance company paid almost 16- million dollars in lightning claims to Georgians last year. That’s roughly 10% of what it paid out nationwide.