Lightning Safety Awareness Week

By: Amelia Nahmias Email
By: Amelia Nahmias Email
Summer is officially here and that means we are seeing more afternoon thunderstorms. This week is Lightning Safety Awareness Week to make everyone aware of the potential dangers.

Lightning illuminated the dark evening skies over Southern parts of Page County. Photos by Adam Sinclair

"Most people think, because I don't know anybody who's been struck by lightning, it won't happen to me either," said Fire Life Safety Educator Wanda Willis.

The Harrisonburg Fire Department see house fires from lightning every year and Willis has also seen people get struck.

"He was knocked off his bed. The chimney had bricks that came off of it, and the phone was knocked off the wall."

When you are outside during a lightning storm the best thing to do is go indoors, but if you cannot make it inside a building, there are other safety measures.

"Get down low if you don't have any shelter. Stay away from trees, any tall buildings. Go inside if at all possible, or get in your car."

Willis said the worst place to go is under a tree, even though it may shield you from rain.

When dark clouds roll in, you might be protected from the storm, but there are a few precautions to take with your home.

John Knepper, a local electrician, suggests lightning rods.

"If lightning strikes a building or very close to a building, rather than hitting the building itself, the points would attract the lightning and carry the currents safely to ground," said Knepper.

It is important to check your home after a big storm, especially if you heard a loud crack of thunder.

“Check your breakers. Check everything in your house. Make sure that your roof, make sure that everything is ok," said Willis.

A fire can start instantly from a bolt of lightning. Make sure you protect your home and yourself this summer.

"Four people in the United States have died by being struck from lightning this year. That's amazing. How many people have been injured that we haven't heard about or weren't in that stat?"

A few other things to remember:

When you're out at the pool and you hear thunder, get out of the water immediately. The same thing goes for the golf course.

Where there is thunder, there is lightening.

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