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Electrical Safety Tips During a Thunderstorm

It wouldn’t be the summertime without the unexpected evening thunderstorms we’ve all come to love. However, thunderstorms are also powerful forces of nature that must be heeded with caution and careful preparation. Most people will simply go indoors during a thunderstorm and not give it a second thought, but it’s important to note that as much as one-third of all lightning strikes occur inside. 

With proper preparedness and caution, we hope to help Americans practice the utmost electrical safety inside their homes during a thunderstorm. 

What Should You Do if You Encounter a Downed Power Line?

Downed power lines are very common during thunderstorms, especially if there are strong wind and surrounding trees. If you see a downed power line, you should maintain a safe distance of at least 10 feet at all times. If you suspect a downed power line has injured someone or you notice someone near a downed power line, do not attempt to help this person yourself. 

Puddles should be avoided near downed power lines, and you should take care to shuffle your feet in small steps away from the power line. Your feet should remain firmly planted on the ground and your feet next to each other. If you encounter a downed power line while driving, the best thing to do if you encounter a downed power line is to stay in the car and call 911 immediately. 

How Can I Stay Safe While Indoors During a Thunderstorm?

Because your home is already one of the safest places to be during a thunderstorm, there are only a few pieces of caution to consider. If you think a thunderstorm is about to roll in, make sure you take the following precautions:

  1. If you have any outdoor pets, bring them inside before the storm. Pets can also be struck by lightning, and no one wants to lose their beloved pet. 

  2. Maintain a reasonable distance away from windows and doors to the outside of your house. Heavy winds and fallen trees can break windows and doors. 

  3. Avoid using water — this means don’t do the dishes, take a shower, or any other water-related home activities. 

  4. If your basement floods during a thunderstorm, it’s best to wait until after the storm has ended to address the water. Water is a conductor of electricity, and it can increase your risk of being struck by lightning indoors. 

  5. Avoid touching metal windows, ladders, door frames, and fences. Metal is also a conductor of electricity.

What are the Best Practices for Protecting Electronic Devices During a Thunderstorm?

When a thunderstorm strikes, it’s normal to think about your electronic devices, too. If you have fair warning of a storm, it’s always a good idea to unplug household appliances, computers, and gaming equipment. Corded phones should be avoided, but wireless devices are considered safe. You should avoid charging your devices during this time if possible. 

Consider Surge Protectors 

It’s generally recommended that you unplug all possible electronic devices ahead of a thunderstorm, but this isn’t always possible. For this reason, surge protectors are a viable alternative. You can purchase individual surge protectors for your outlets, or you can install a whole-house surge protector. 

Whole-house surge protectors redirect electrical currents to the ground in the event of a lightning strike. Most units are easily installed in your existing circuit breaker box. In addition to protecting your devices from electrical surges, surge protectors can also help prevent electrical fires. 

Do you want to know more about whole-house surge protection? You’re in luck. The team at Cornerstone Electrical Services would love to hear from you! For more information, contact us today.

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