A safe shelter is a building with electricity and/or plumbing or a metal-topped vehicle with windows closed. Picnic shelters, dugouts, small buildings without plumbing or electricity are not safe. Below are some key safety tips for you, your pets and your home. There are three main ways lightning enters structures: a direct strike, through wires or pipes that extend outside the structure, and through the ground. Once in a structure, lightning can travel through the electrical, phone, plumbing, and radio/television reception systems. Lightning can also travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring..
- Stay off corded phones. You can use cellular or cordless phones.
- Don't touch electrical equipment such as computers, TVs, or cords. You can remote controls safety.
- Avoid plumbing. Do not wash your hands, take a shower or wash dishes.
- Stay away from windows and doors that might have small leaks around the sides to let in lightning, and stay off porches.
- Do not lie on concrete floors or lean againt concrete walls.
- Protect your pets: Dog houses are not safe shelters. Dogs that are chained to trees or on metal runners are particularly vulnerable to lightning strikes.
- Protect your property: Lightning generates electric surges that can damage electronic equipment some distance from the actual strike. Typical surge protectors will not protect equipment from a lightning strike. The American Meteorological Society has tips for protecting your electronics from lightning. Do not unplug equipment during a thunderstorm as there is a risk you could be struck.