Safety & Security

Stay safe: One-third of all lightning-related injuries occur indoors

Don’t shower, wash dishes or talk on a landline phone during a thunderstorm

Most people know to head inside during a thunderstorm, but just getting into the house doesn’t mean you’re home free. As a 13-year-old, Shelley Curtsinger called her mom from the landline phone in their home. Electrical hazards were the last thing on her mind.

“We were having a little bit of rain and some lightning,” Shelley Curtsinger said. “And lightning must have hit the phone line. It came through the line, hit me and went out the back of my knee. I blacked out very briefly.”

Miraculously, Shelley Curtsinger (now married to PEC Energy Service Advisor Brian Curtsinger) was unhurt. There was a small black spot on the back of her knee and a smoking, black patch on the wall where the energy had exited her body. But with the Electrical Safety Foundation (ESFI) reporting that one-third of all lightning-related injuries occur indoors, it’s no shock that practicing storm safety is important inside and out.

Use these tips to keep yourself and your family safe during thunderstorms.

Don’t use landlines and plugged-in electronics

If your home is struck by lightning, electricity can travel though electrical and phone cords and deliver a shock.

Avoid plumbing

Metal pipes are excellent conductors of electricity. Activities like taking a shower, washing dishes or doing laundry put you at risk during electrical storms.

Don’t touch concrete walls or floors

Though garages and basements may feel safe, lightning can travel though metal wires in concrete walls and flooring.

If you can hear thunder, lightning is nearby. The ESFI advises that lightning can strike up to 10 miles away from the center of a thunderstorm. Wait until the storm has passed and you have not heard thunder for 30 minutes before resuming use of plumbing and indoor electronics.

Get more storm preparedness and safety tips from our PEC energy experts.