Thunderstorms – Do’s And Don’ts
The weather department has issued warnings for severe thunderstorm.
Although it is rare for a person to be struck by lightning, as per the weather department data - an average of 49 people are killed by lightning every year in the United States. Hundreds of people are left injured, and some survivors may undergo severe neurological trauma.
We must therefore take necessary precautions to avoid lightning strikes and keep ourselves out of harm's way.
Here's a list of what you & your dear ones need to do to stay safe, including a few suggestions from CDC:
- Remain indoors.
- Stay away from walls – The metal rods and wires within walls and floors are capable of conducting electric charges. So stay distant from them, especially if the walls are wet.
- Refrain from using corded telephone.
- Refrain using taps, faucets and sinks for the duration of the storm. If you need to use these, make sure you use covers made of cotton, wool, wood, rubber or plastic to insulate yourself from electric shock.
- Turn off electrical and electronic equipment (Home appliances, televisions, computers, routers).
- Disconnect mobile & laptop chargers from the plug points.
- Stock up on ready-to-eat food: fruits, bread, cookies, nuts, chips, snacks, candies, and the like.
- Stock up on your essential medical supplies and keep them accessible.
- Add to your favorite beverage reserves – Coffee, Tea, Wine, and Beer.
- Cover the ears of babies, young kids and older people with cotton buds to reduce sound impact.
- Gather these things and keep them handy: umbrellas, raincoats/jackets, flashlights, candles, rope, knife, water-bottles, 2-way radios (if you have them), and matchbox or lighter.
- Occasionally juice up the battery power to your mobiles, laptops and power banks / external batteries when the thunders/lightning subside, and disconnect the power source immediately afterward.
Do Not turn on the router as the network cables are notorious for carrying high electrical charges and damaging computers and laptops.
- If you live in an apartment complex, try not to use the lift as much as possible. Use the stairs instead.
- If your car is parked in the open, cover it with a suitable water-proof car cover.
The rain water can make the roads slippery – so make sure that you apply the hand brake on your car to prevent movement. If your car is parked on hilly areas or slopes, it would also be a good idea to place some rocks or wooden blocks around the wheels in the downward direction.
- Sometimes the weather can also turn cold, so keep body warmers and blankets prepped-up, and within reach.
- Avoid drinking chilled drinks like soda, as it might lead to cold or running nose.
- Drink water that has been boiled, and cooled down.
- Tune in to the radio from time-to-time to become wary of announcements and other essential updates.
- If you have one or more pets, stock up on pet food and medical supplies, and keep your pets inside the house.
- Still water serves as the breeding ground for mosquitoes; so the number of mosquitoes often increases after rains. Procure mosquito repellents as necessary and keep them accessible.
If you already are outside:
- Do Not remain in open areas or sit on park benches.
- Do Not remain on hills, cliffs, or other elevated areas.
- Do Not stand under trees.
- Do Not go near water bodies – lakes, springs, or rivers.
If you have already ventured out for swimming, fishing, or other water-related activities, it is best to suspend your activity and find a suitable shelter.
- Do Not touch or get close to metallic surfaces or metallic fences (such as barbed wire).
- Do Not lie flat on the ground.
- Do Not get close to electrical distribution systems such as electrical cables, towers and transformers.
- Find a suitable shelter. If you are not close to any closed structures, remain in your car.
While you're at it, make sure your personal, home, car & pet insurance are up to date. If you do not have active insurance for the above, or if they are nearing their term, it is best to update your insurance.
What can you do if you're stuck at home during a thunderstorm?
It can sometimes take a couple of days for the storm to pass. Here are a couple of things that you could do to spend your time when you're stuck at home and waiting for the weather to clear:
- Interact with other members in your family, know what is happening in their lives, and improve family ties.
- Interact with your neighbors, and get to know them better. If you have single or old people as neighbors, check with them if they need any help, and offer your assistance.
- If you have hobbies or interests that can be done indoors, like drawing, painting, clay modeling, pursue those interests.
- Pick your favorite books – the ones that have been lying around for a while in your cupboard gathering dust, and start reading.
- Indulge in physical exercises or yoga to keep yourself fit.
- Embrace peace and quiet – learn to meditate.
- Listen to your favorite music on the radio.
- Use your mobile phone to learn more about your hobbies or topics of interest. You can use online platforms such as Udemy to improve your knowledge and skills in a wide variety of topics/subjects.
It is recommended to use the cellular service to access the internet rather than wi-fi during thunderstorms. Please bear in mind that this may come with an additional cost, depending on your cellular service provider and your current plan.
- Gather the DVDs of movies that you so fondly collected and watch them again.
Also remember that performing activities 8 & 9 from the list above could cause the battery of your mobile/laptop to drain, and you would need to juice them up from time-to-time.