Extreme weather can be one of the most dangerous things humans ever encounter. We've all seen first hand how hurricanes can lay waste to areas, while last year's wildfires destroyed entire towns. Thunderstorms can be a fairly regular occurrence, but when they turn serious they shouldn't be underestimated. Here's what to do if you get a severe thunderstorm warning, according to Disaster Center.
Pick a safe place in your home. Thunderstorms can produce all sorts of other weather risks, like a tornado and flash flooding. Find a safe space in your home that's away from any windows, skylights or glass doors for your family to hunker down until the storm passes. Strong winds could rattle windows to breaking point, leading to serious injury. If you have a basement, that's the perfect place to start. If you don't, keep on the lowest floor of your home.
Teach your family how to squat. Squatting isn't just for toning up, it can actually save lives. By keeping as low to the ground as possible, you're making yourself a smaller target. That way, if lightning happens to strike, you have a smaller probability of being hit. Similarly, if the structure around you collapses, then you're less likely to get physically hurt if you minimize your surface area. Keep the balls of your feet on the ground, put your hands on your knees and tuck your head into your chest.
Get educated. Ensure that you know all the relevant warnings for your area. Some communities have outside sirens, where others rely on radio warnings. If you're traveling, make sure you know the regulations for the place you're going to visit. Learn the info yourself, then pass it on to your family so everyone remains aware.
Cancel outdoor activities. People tend to forget that it's important to take shelter regardless of if it's raining or not. The Disaster Centre reports that the majority of people struck by lightning aren't in the rain at all. If you can hear thunder, then you could be at risk, even if it's dry. Keep indoors with your family, even if the kids beg to go outside and see the sky. It's not worth it.
Teach your children to seek shelter in a building or car. In this hectic life, we're often rushing from A to B getting stuff done. We might not always be at home when a weather warning is given. Teach your children what to do if they're ever caught out when a thunderstorm strikes. The safest place to go is a structurally sound building, but if there aren't any buildings nearby, cars are the next best thing. It seems counter-intuitive because cars are made of metal and metal is a conductor, but you'll be much safer inside a car that's hit by lightning than if you were stood in the open air. Convertibles won't do much, but hard-top cars can.
Keep away from tall things. Lightning strikes the tallest thing in any given area. If it's raining, it might seem like a great idea to go and stand under that tree for shelter. It's not. You could be putting yourself in the path of destruction. The same thing goes for fences, telephone lines, and power lines. Bodies of water also pose a very serious risk. If you're in water enjoying a swim when you notice the rumblings of thunder, get out immediately and seek shelter.
Shut off the water in your house. During a severe thunderstorm, it's not unusual for lightning to strike and come through the water pipes in the house. Instead of taking a chance and trusting that your kids won't use the taps, turn off the water at the main. This way, they won't get a nasty shock that could be avoided.
Trim shrubbery and trees around your property. If you've got a lot of greenery around your property and you're in an area prone to thunderstorms, it's important to keep up the maintenance. Any old trees with cracked limbs or scraggly branches could pose a threat once the winds pick up. Parts of trees often get ripped off in severe storms and thrown through the windows of nearby property. By tackling the gardening on a regular basis, you're protecting your home form potential damage.
Most importantly, make sure your family all know what to do in the event of this situation. When adverse weather strikes, knowledge is power!