Summer thunderstorms are frequently accompanied by lightning, which can be a killer. Whether indoors or out, telephone use should be avoided except in emergencies. Some experts also recommend unplugging computers and television sets. The dangers are greatest out-of-doors, however.
Here are some steps you can take to minimize the hazard when caught outdoors in a lightning storm:
• Find shelter—but avoid standing in small, isolated structures in open areas.
• Avoid standing under a natural lightning rod such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area.
• Avoid allowing your body to project above the landscape—such as by standing on a hilltop, in an open field or on the beach, or by fishing from a small boat.
• If you’re in the woods, find shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees.
• If you’re in an open area, go to a low place like a gully or ravine—but be alert for flash flooding, which is likely with heavy rainfall.
• Stay away from open water.
• Stay away from motorcycles, bikes, scooters, lawnmowers, and golf carts. (Golfers should put down their clubs and remove metal-spiked shoes.)
• Keep away from wire fences or clotheslines, metal pipes and rails, or any other metallic path that can carry lightning’s electrical charge to you from some distance.