Sometimes thunderstorms can strike with little to no warning, especially during the warmer months. Lighting strikes pose a serious threat during thunderstorms if you are caught at the wrong place at the wrong time. Knowing how to react in a sudden storm is critical to ensuring your safety. So, when you are at the cottage or on the golf course remember these few tips to keep yourself safe in a storm.
- Find indoor shelter immediately- If you find yourself caught in a lightning storm, the key to minimizing danger is to get inside a protective structure. Buildings that are grounded with plumbing and electrical systems are the best source of protection from lightning. If you can’t find a substantial structure, get into a car with a metal roof and sides. If the car is struck, the metal body will conduct the electricity around you, not through you. Make sure all windows are rolled up and closed. Be careful not to lean against any metal.
- Avoid windows- Keep windows closed. Windows provide a direct path for the lightning to travel.
- Don’t touch anything metal or electrical- Using a landline phone is the main cause of lightning- related injuries. Lightning can travel into the home from any material that conducts electricity. This includes landlines, electrical wiring, and plumbing. Do not touch any electrical outlets during a storm including unplugging devices. This could cause the strike to be transferred to you. Stay out of the bathtub or shower.
- Stay inside- Stay inside at least 30 minutes after the last strike. There is still a significant risk of lightning strikes from a departing storm.
If caught outdoors when a thunderstorm hits and you are unable to seek shelter here are a few tips to lessen your chances of getting hit by lightning.
On the Golf Course
If you are nowhere near the clubhouse, move away from the hilltops, open areas and water. Stay far away from tall trees and metal conductors, such as wires and fences. Move away from your golf cart and clubs and try to maintain a distance between you and other golfers on the course. If possible, find the lowest possible place, such as a ravine or valley and squat in a baseball catcher’s position. Have your heels touch, cover your ears, and put your head between your legs. To minimize your contact with the ground do not lie flat.
On the Boat
If you cannot return to the shore before the storm hits, drop the anchor and get as low as possible. Get in the boats cabin if it has one. Stay off the radio unless it is an emergency. Keep away from any metallic surfaces, which my conduct electricity. If possible, return to shore before the storm reaches your boat.
On the Trail
Avoid lone trees and other tall objects when hiking during a thunderstorm. Stay way for rocky outcrops, ledges, water and wet items like ropes and towels. If you are deep into the forest, find a small group of trees that are surrounded by taller ones to crouch under. Squat in a baseball catcher’s position, have your heels touch, cover your ears, and put your head between your legs. To minimize your contact with the ground do not lie flat.