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Here Are Tips To Keep You Safe When Thunderstorms Hit Southern California


The summer of 2022 has gotten off to an unusually stormy start in Southern California. Thunderstorms have brought a significant amount of lightning, which can be dangerous and deadly. Almost 67,000 lightning events were recorded in California during a 37-hour period.

On Wednesday morning a Southern California woman and her two dogs were struck and killed by lightning while walking around the San Gabriel River bike path. The lightning strike was so severe that it left an indentation in the pavement.

Since thunderstorms and lightning aren't a common occurrence in Southern California, officials are urging caution. You can find more safety tips at the National Weather Service website.

WHEN THUNDER ROARS, GO INDOORS! All thunderstorms produce lightning and are dangerous. If you can hear thunder, you are in danger. Don’t be fooled by blue skies. If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to pose an immediate threat.

OUTSIDE TIPS

No place outside is safe when a thunderstorm is in the area. Get inside as soon as you hear thunder. Run to a substantial building or hard-topped metal vehicle as fast as you can. If you can’t get to a safe building or vehicle:

  • Avoid open areas. Don’t be the tallest object in the area.
  • Stay away from isolated tall trees, towers or utility poles. Lightning tends to strike the taller objects in an area.
  • Stay away from metal conductors such as wires or fences. Metal does not attract lightning, but lightning can travel long distances through it.
  • Stay away from water - pools, ponds, lakes and other bodies of water (even puddles).
  • If you are with a group of people, spread out. While this actually increases the chance that someone might get struck, it tends to prevent multiple casualties, and increases the chances that someone could help if a person is struck.
  • Stay inside a safe building or vehicle for at least 30 minutes after you hear the last thunder. While 30 minutes may seem like a long time, it is necessary to be safe.

INDOORS - AVOID THE FOLLOWING:

  • WATER. Don't have contact with water during a storm - lightning can travel through plumbing. DO NOT bathe, shower, wash dishes.
  • ELECTRONICS. Lightning can travel through electrical systems and radio and television reception systems. DO NOT use anything connected to an electrical outlet, including computers, laptops, game systems, washers, dryers or stoves.
  • CORDED PHONES. Corded phones are NOT safe to use during a thunderstorm. However, cordless or cellular phones are safe to use during a storm.
  • CONCRETE FLOORS / WALLS. Lightning can travel through metal wires and bars in concrete walls or flooring. DO NOT lie on concrete floors or lean on concrete walls during a thunderstorm.

IF SOMEONE IS STRUCK

Cardiac arrest is the immediate cause of death for those who die. Lightning victims do not carry an electrical charge and may need first aid immediately.

  • Call for help. Call 9-1-1.
  • Give first aid. Begin CPR if you are trained.
  • Use an Automatic External Defibrillator if one is available. These units are lifesavers!
  • Don’t be a victim. If possible, move the victim to a safer place. Lightning CAN strike twice.

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