5 Lightning Safety Tips That Most Carolinians Don’t Know
Author: Auger Law | August 8th, 2022
North and South Carolina have two of the country’s highest rates of lightning deaths. Learning these five lesser-known tips could help keep you safe as summer storms roll in.
August in the Carolinas means back to school, the start of football season, and severe thunderstorms. With hot temperatures and high humidity, August is the most active month for lightning in North and South Carolina. In fact, lightning strikes more than 40 to 50 times a second in August in the Carolinas!
Most Carolinians know to seek shelter when thunderstorms roll in. However, a survey found that many people don’t know what to do if they are outdoors and a building or car is not nearby when lightning is in the area.
Here, we share five safety tips to follow if you are stuck outside when lightning strikes.
1. Remove Backpacks, Bags, or Purses
If you are caught outside during a lightning storm, the best thing you can do is make yourself as small as possible. This means removing bags, backpacks, and purses from your person. The CDC recommends dropping these items at least 100 feet away from you, as they can attract lightning (especially if they contain metal or electrical objects).
2. Drop Your Cellphone and Car Keys 100 Feet Away From You
If you are carrying car keys (or house keys) or a cell phone, drop them at least 100 feet away from you. These metal and electrical items can attract lightning and conduct electricity. If you can’t remember where you dropped your keys and phone, use the “Find My iPhone” or “Find My Device” to locate them.
3. Spread Out From Others in Your Group
This is very important. Don’t huddle together with others in your group. This is because lightning can strike one person and then spread along the ground to hit people that are close. The CDC recommends a minimum of 20 feet between each person.
4. Get in the “Lightning Position”
Never lie flat on the ground. This increases your chance of being electrocuted by a ground current. Instead, get into the “lightning position.”
To get into “lightning position,” stop, squat (or sit), and ball yourself up, so you are as low as possible. Wrap your arms around your legs or put your hand over your ears to protect your ears from thunder. Close your eyes and keep your feet together at the heels. To minimize contact with the ground, try to stay on the balls of your feet as long as possible if crouching.
5. Immediately Help Someone Who Has Been Struck or Injured
Contrary to popular belief, you cannot be electrocuted by touching someone who has been struck by lightning. They’ll need immediate help from you, so call 911 and start CPR if they’re not breathing.
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