COLUMBUS, OH – Spring and summer are typical seasons for thunder and lightning storms, though they can occur year-round and at any hour. By knowing your area’s risk for lightning and paying attention to changing weather conditions, you can help keep yourself and your family members out of harm’s way. 

The Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA), National Weather Service (NWS), and the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness (OCSWA) are promoting June 23-29 as National Lightning Safety Awareness Week and encouraging all Ohioans to know what to do before, during, and after a thunderstorm, and to practice severe weather safety and preparedness throughout the summer.

Lightning is one of the leading causes of injury and death from weather-related hazards. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms.

The following information can help keep you and your family safe from the storm:

  • Be weather aware. If the weather forecast calls for thunderstorms, consider postponing your trip or outdoor activity.
  • Know the Weather Terms and understand the difference between a Thunderstorm Watch – Be Prepared and a Thunderstorm Warning – Take Action!
  • When thunder roars, go indoors!” Stop outdoor activities and seek a safe, enclosed shelter immediately. This includes all water activities.
  • Suspend outdoor activities for at least 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.

Prepare Before the Storm

  • Know your area’s risk for lightning. Spring and summer are typical seasons for thunderstorms, though they can occur year-round and at any hour.
  • Sign up for your local emergency notification system or download a weather app. The Emergency Alert System and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  • Consider buying surge protectors, lightning rods, or a lightning protection system to protect your home, appliances, and electronic devices.

Survive During the Storm

If a thunderstorm warning has been issued for your area or you hear thunder, go inside immediately.

  • Get out and away from bodies of water. If boating, fishing, or swimming, get to land and find a sturdy, grounded shelter or vehicle immediately.
  • If indoors, avoid running water or using landline phones. Electricity can travel through plumbing and telephone lines.
  • Protect your property. Unplug appliances and other electric devices.

Be Safe After the Storm

  • Watch for fallen power lines or broken tree limbs. Report hazards immediately.
  • If power outages occur, report them to your utility provider. Don’t wait for a neighbor to report the outage.
  • If using alternate power sources like a generator, always follow the manufacturer’s directions.

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