SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – While your chance of getting struck by lightning is low, it’s important to know how to stay safe during a thunderstorm. With storms on the way with possible lightning, Ozarksfirst.com looks at why it’s not safe to shower during a thunderstorm.
Earlier this year in May, Oklahoma firefighters with the Okmulgee Fire Department were called to the scene of an incident at an apartment building on Wednesday night, after a bolt of lightning traveled through the exhaust vent and shattered a toilet in one of the units.
According to the CDC, even though your home is a safe shelter during a lightning storm, you might still be at risk. About one-third of lightning-strike injuries occur indoors. Here are some tips to keep safe and reduce your risk of being struck by lightning while indoors.
- Avoid water.
Do not bathe, shower, wash dishes, or have any other contact with water during a thunderstorm because lightning can travel through a building’s plumbing. The risk of lightning traveling through plumbing might be less with plastic pipes than with metal pipes. However, it is best to avoid any contact with plumbing and running water during a lightning storm to reduce your risk of being struck.
- Don’t touch electronic equipment.
Do not use anything connected to an electrical outlet, such as computers, laptops, game systems, washers, dryers, or stoves. Lightning can travel through electrical systems, radio and television reception systems, and any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring. Equip your home with whole-house surge protectors to protect your appliances.
- Avoid windows, doors, porches, and concrete.
Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches. Do not lie on concrete floors or lean on concrete walls during a thunderstorm. Lightning can travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring.
- Don’t use corded phones.
Corded phones are not safe to use during a thunderstorm. Do not use them. However, it is safe to use cordless or cellular phones during a storm.
According to the NWS Storm Data, over the last 30 years (1989-2018) the U.S. has averaged 43 reported lightning fatalities per year. 13 deaths have been reported this year.
The odds of being struck in a given year is about 1/1,222,000, meanwhile, the odds of being struck in your lifetime is about 1/15,300.