Storm Safety Tips to Keep Your Family Safe
It’s summer in Florida, which means smoldering temperatures, awesome pool parties, and storms. On Tuesday, Tallahassee suffered a bludgeoning storm system that resulted in dangerous weather and several downed trees.Talquin Electric Cooperative reported more than 20,000 customers without power, and the City of Tallahassee Electric reported more than 30,000. While Florida summer storms are nothing new, it’s important to brush up, learn, or make sure you and your family are safe. The following information explains a few top storm safety tips to make sure you and your family is safe during a storm, regardless if you are inside, on the road, or outside.
Being Safe Indoors
Beware Water and Wires
If lightning strikes a building, the electrical surge can travel through utility wires and through pipes. As a result, you could be electrocuted if you are in contact with any type of running water. More importantly, you could get zapped if you are touching a device that is plugged in, such as a computer, toaster, or a landline. During lightning storms, it’s best to refrain from doing anything that requires you to use the water tap, like washing dishes. At the same time, you should only use wireless devices during a storm.
Wait for Silent Skies
Just because the rain stops, it doesn’t mean you are out of the water. It’s best to stay inside for a bit until you see quietened skies. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), lightning can actually strike a target 10 miles away from the physical storm. The best way to determine how far you are away from a storm is from the sound of thunder. In most cases, the sound of thunder doesn’t travel distances longer than 10 miles. As a result, if you can hear it, it’s highly likely you should be fearing it.
Being Safe on the Road
The Music Can Wait
In any case, sitting inside of a vehicle is much safer than being outside in a torrential storm, but not because of the tires. The body of the vehicle is metal, which serves as an excellent protector and conduction device. It conducts electricity all around you and into the ground. As a result, it’s important you avoid touching anything in the car, especially the dial or other buttons on your stereo. Although most people consider this to be a myth, you can be electrocuted if your vehicle is struck by lightning and you decide to change input from radio to your iPhone. You should also avoid any contact with the door handles or any other part.
If you are driving in a rain storm, make sure you avoid those seemingly shallow puddles. In many cases, a torrential rain storm can wash out large chunks of the road. A mere six inches of water can still damage your vehicle or stall your engine in your car. If your vehicle stalls, it increases the likelihood someone else’s vehicle will crash into yours. A stalled engine also makes you significantly more vulnerable in a flash flood. The best process is to avoid puddles, but if you can’t scoot around it, you should pull over in a non flooded area to make sure the road is passable. On the other hand, you could always find another route around Tallahassee.
Being Safe Outside
Avoid Makeshift Shelters
Although it may be tempting to find cover under a golf cart or gazebo, these are all open-sided structures without any conducts to channel lightning strikes. If you choose shelter like this, you may be the path of least resistance to the ground for lightning. In addition, these types of structures bolster the likelihood of being struck by a bolt because of their height. If you are caught outside in a storm, the best solution is to keep moving toward proper shelter and stick to low-lying ground.
Watch Out for That “Feeling”
If you begin to hear a buzzing sound in the air or if you start to get the feeling of prickly and tingly hair, you should listen to your senses. These signs are common indicators a lightning strike is imminent. In this case, crouch down on the balls of your feet to make your toes touch. Then, cover your ears and tuck your head. When you are in this position, you will reduce the chances of a direct strike and reduce the likelihood the strike results in injuries. After the staticky feeling subsides, quickly get to a car or a building as quickly as possible.
Get Branched Out
Lightning loves trees because they are tall. If a tree is struck by lightning, it could conduct deadly current into the ground and cause it to explode from the dynamic heat. When you factor in gale-force winds strong enough to break large branches, the danger becomes real. It’s best to be smart from the start and avoid being around trees.
Stay Safe in Tallahassee
While most people love the Florida summer weather, the smoldering heat usually ushers in dangerous storms. No matter if you are in your home, on the road, or outside; it’s important to be safe. The previously mentioned storm safety tips are designed to brush up, review, or teach you new skills to make sure your entire family is safe and enjoys those pool days, family trips, or lackadaisical days around the house.
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