HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - “When thunder roars, get indoors.” We’ve all heard it, and the warning shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Meteorologist Chris Vagasky of the National Lighting Safety Council explains lightning and breaks down the effects it can have on the human body.
“Lightning is a big shock, a big electrical shock in the atmosphere and can be hotter than the surface of the sun,” said Vagasky. “So, if the person is struck by lightning, there’s a number of effects that can happen including cardiac arrest, brain damage, burns to the skin, things like that.”
The best place for safety against lightning is in an enclosed area. Here’s why it’s safe to be inside.
“We always say ‘When thunder roars go indoors,’ and that’s because your houses or substantial buildings have electrical systems and plumbing in the walls which takes the energy from the lightning and takes it to the ground where it dissipates,” said Vagasky.
Although being in your home is good, there are still ways lightning can harm you if you’re not careful.
“When you are inside, you don’t want to be in contact with anything that’s connected to electricity or the plumbing,” said Vagasky. “So, don’t take a shower, don’t rinse or wash the dishes, don’t worry about unplugging in any appliances, because that puts you in contact with the electrical, and if the house gets struck, that electrical charge can come through the walls and shock you,”
If your home does get struck by lightning, make sure you assess the damage.
State Farm representative Garrett Carter explains some tips you can do before the storm.
“If your house is struck by lightning, I recommend to just kind of assess and make sure all of your electronics are working properly after the fact,” said Carter. “But even just building up to a thunderstorm that’s coming in, to prevent lightning damage, I’d highly recommend investing in surge protectors.”
Carter also recommends paying attention to your environment as trees may become a factor when lightning strikes in the area.
“Another safety thing to look at is to look at other trees that may be close to your house that lightning strikes it, it could potentially cause that tree to fall or a limb to fall on your house and cause exterior damage also,” said Carter.
This marks the 20th year for Lightning Safety Awareness Week.