How to stay safe during a lightning storm

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In Georgia, lightning kills 1 or 2 people and injures 12 people each year Before lightening strikes, look for darkening skies, flashes of light, or increasing wind Know the 30/30 rule: after seeing lightning, go indoors if you can't count to 30 before hearing thunder Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder If shelter is unavailable, go to the lowest area and squat to make yourself the smallest target possible Do not lie flat on the ground Unplug appliances. Avoid using the telep

According to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA/HS), lightning is the leading weather-related killer in Georgia, (second only to tornadoes) killing one to two people, and injuring 12 people each year, on average.

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GEMA/HS suggests these tips to prepare for severe lightning storms:

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Protect Yourself from Lightning

Before lightning strikes

• Look for darkening skies, flashes of light, or increasing wind. Listen for the sound of thunder.

• If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.

• Know the 30/30 rule: go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.

• Monitor radio, or television for the latest weather forecasts.

When a storm approaches

• Find shelter in a building or car. Keep car windows closed and avoid convertibles.

• If shelter is not available, go to the lowest area nearby and make yourself the smallest target possible by squatting. Do not lie flat on the ground.

• If on open water, get to land and shelter immediately.

• Unplug appliances. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. (Leaving electric lights on, however, does not increase the chances of your home being struck by lightning.)

• Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water.

• Turn off the air conditioner. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressor.

• Draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break due to objects blown by the wind, the shades will help prevent glass from shattering into your home.

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Things to avoid:

• A tall, isolated tree in an open area.

• Hilltops, open fields, the beach, a pool, a boat on the water, isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.

• Anything metal — tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles. After the Storm Passes

• Stay away from storm-damaged areas.

• Listen to the radio or television for information and instructions.

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