lightningstrike1Lightning season is just beginning, making it a good time to review some things about this force of nature that we would do well to respect.

The majority of lightning strikes and thunderstorms occur in the spring and summer months, but lightning strikes can happen at any time without warning if a thunderstorm is in the area, even if rainfall and storm clouds are as far as 10 miles away.

In the U.S., an estimated 25 million lightning strikes are recorded each year.

A typical lightning strike can deliver up to 125 million volts of electricity, heating the air around the bolt to more than 40,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Every year, as many as 58 people are killed and about 300 people are injured by lightning strikes. People struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms, including: memory loss, attention deficit problems, sleep disorders, chronic pain, numbness, dizziness, joint stiffness, irritability, fatigue, weakness, muscle spasms, depression, and chronic restlessness.

Following are some lightning safety tips you should keep in mind during storm season to reduce your risk of lightning injuries and death:

  • As soon as you hear thunder, stop outdoor activities and seek shelter indoors or in a hard top vehicle. There’s a chance that you can still be injured if lightning strikes your car, but you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
  • Avoid trees, carports, baseball dugouts, sheds, greenhouses, tents, golf shelters, beach pavilions, patios, golf carts, convertibles, or open garages.
  • Remember the 30/30 Rule: When you see lightning, go indoors if you can’t count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
  • Rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.
  • Close window blinds, shades or curtains.
  • Unplug electrical items and electronics to protect them from damage during severe storms. Use surge protectors on important electrical equipment in the household.
  • Avoid corded phones, computers, and other electrical equipment.
  • Do not touch bathtubs, showers, pools (indoor or outdoor), or other water sources and plumbing.
  • Perform CPR and seek emergency medical attention immediately for anyone who has been struck by lightning.

Oak Electric Service is one of southeast Michigan’s leading electrical and renewable energy contractors. Give us a call at (800) 964-7070. We are standing by to answer all of your residential and commercial electrical questions. We will always personally answer your phone call – you will never reach an answering service! Be sure to ask about our “Free Electrical Safety Inspection” with every job. We invite you to visit our website at www.oakelectric.com to learn more about us.