Its that time of year. Time for church picnics and outdoor activities. Youth groups have big plans and vacation bible school is in full force. Each year lightning related injuries and damages make headlines around the world. It’s an expensive and dangerous risk that warrants a keen eye and common sense. As we enter the summer months with plans for our summer outings and events, please consider the following:
- Have a plan. In the event that a storm is forecasted or develops during your summer festival have a safety back-up plan. Lightning often strikes before, during and after a storm. So, when you hear thunder it’s time to move. As the rain falls, it’s best to stay put in a protected area. Once the rain stops, wait for the storm to completely leave the area before resuming activities.
- Designate a safe and secure location for participants. Substantial and fully enclosed buildings are preferred. Hard topped automobiles with closed doors and windows are suitable options. It is not advisable to seek shelter in small, isolated, open and temporary shelter. Also, lone trees, water hazards, large open areas and areas with high metal content are not wise options. If you are outdoors with limited resources, crouch down in a small ball at the lowest possible elevation. Limit the amount of ground you are touching and stay far away from other people and items (including jewelry and watches).
- Building safety can be achieved through a few precautionary actions. Lightning rods are a valuable asset to any tall structure (i.e. steeples, copulas, etc.). Taking time to unplug all non-vital electrical equipment is advisable. A lightning strike may cause smoldering secrets in attics, crawl spaces and other hidden areas. So, thoroughly inspect the property upon receiving a lightning strike for smoke and fire. Finally, here are just a few suggested items to stay clear of during a lightning storm: windows, doors, concrete with metal bars and wires inside, plumbing, wiring, electronic equipment and phones.
Be aware of changing weather conditions and have a plan to stay safe. A little planning can be a huge asset when managing the safety of others. Thanks to our friends at Church Underwriters for this timely article.