When thunder roars, go indoors. This seemingly simple phrase can help save lives and prevent serious injury, especially with severe weather on the horizon this summer.
Whether enjoying the outdoors in the mountains, the beach or somewhere in between, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are encouraging members to learn how to stay safe during a lightning storm and sharing how co-ops help restore power quickly and safely after severe weather.
Lightning Safety Guidelines
If you are outside and hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you and you should immediately move to a safe shelter. Safe shelters include substantial buildings with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle. Wait at least 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder before leaving the safe shelter.
Even when you are inside, lightning can still pose a threat. Stay off equipment that puts you in direct contact with electricity, including corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment and avoid using sinks, showers and faucets.
If you find yourself outside in severe weather with no safe shelters nearby, immediately leave any elevated areas like mountains or hills and stay clear of bodies of water like ponds or lakes. Additionally, never lie flat on the ground or shelter under an isolated tree.
NC Co-ops are Storm Ready
Throughout the year, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives adhere to strict safety standards and conduct continuing education to protect the safety of line crews, members and communities.
With severe weather and lightning, power outages can occur. In the event a damaging storm causes power outages, co-ops are uniquely positioned and ready to address any impacts, as they are local to and embedded in the communities they serve.
Additionally, in severe events, local cooperatives can rely on a strong cooperative network across the state and region, as co-ops from unaffected or less-impacted areas stand ready to assist when major outages occur.
Lightning Safety Awareness Week is an important opportunity to raise awareness surrounding the dangers of thunderstorms and lighting. This awareness week, combined with support from media and other groups like utilities, has provided greater awareness of the dangers of lightning and has driven a decrease in lightning-related fatalities over the last decade. The National Weather Service reports that since 2001, lightning fatalities in the U.S. have dropped from about nearly 55 per year to less than 30. It is no coincidence that Lightning Safety Awareness Week, created in 2001, has assisted in this decrease through a greater, more coordinated promotion of safety information.
For more resources on severe weather safety, visit the Cooperative Storm Center.