June 18 to 24 is National Lightning Safety Awareness Week for 2017. Lightning kills about 50 Americans every year and causes more than $730 Million in property damage. Texas is #2 in the Nation for home lightning strike insurance claims. That’s according to an analysis of claims by the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm Insurance.
Citizens of the Lone Star State filed 6,419 lightning-related claims in 2013. Claims averaged $8,436 and totaled $54.2 million. Here are the stats by month and by time of day for lightning in Southeast Texas from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Here are some safety tips from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). First and foremost, it’s important to remember — “When thunder roars, go indoors!” The National Weather Service tracks lightning fatalities here.
NOAA says, “Talk with your family about lightning safety and how to reduce the risk of being struck by lightning even while indoors.” According to the agency, there are three main ways lightning enters structures — through a direct strike, through wires or pipes that extend outside the structure, and through the ground.
Lightning: What You Need to Know
- NO PLACE outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area!!
- If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.
- When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter: a substantial building with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up.
- Stay in safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.
Indoor Lightning Safety
- Stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity.
- Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths and faucets.
- Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
- Do not lie on concrete floors, and do not lean against concrete walls.
Last Resort Outdoor Risk Reduction Tips
If you are caught outside with no safe shelter anywhere nearby the following actions may reduce your risk:
Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks
Never lie flat on the ground
Never shelter under an isolated tree
Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter
Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water
Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines, windmills, etc.)
For more information click here.
For home and business protection, the Lightning Protection Institute advocates a return to a modern version of an old technology, namely lightning rods.
Installing a lightning protection system on your home won’t prevent lightning from striking, but it will guide a strike safely into the ground.
Such systems typically cost between $1,500 and $4,500 to install.
You can find a qualified installer by visiting the Lighting Protection Institute’s website.
One more possible tip that has not been added to the list is the story of a couple who reportedly diffused a lightning strike by holding hands. More on that here.