Thunderstorms can pop up unexpectedly in Texas, so it’s important to stay prepared. While hunkering down indoors is one of the safest things to do when lightning strikes, there are hazards you should be aware of.
Don’t use landlines and plugged-in electronics
If your home is struck by lightning, electricity can travel through electrical and phone cords and deliver a shock, so it’s best to avoid using electronics that are plugged in. Cell phones are safe to use if they are unplugged.
Metal pipes are excellent conductors of electricity. Activities like taking a shower, bathing, washing dishes, or doing laundry put you at risk during electrical storms. Wait until 30 minutes have passed since you’ve heard thunder to use any plumbing or electronics.
Don’t touch concrete walls or floors
Though garages and basements may feel safe, lightning can travel through metal wires in concrete walls and flooring. It’s a good idea to avoid these areas, as well as windows, doors, and porches when lightning is present.
If you can hear thunder, lightning is nearby. The ESFI advises lightning can strike over 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 the use of plumbing and indoor electronics.
Invest in lightning rods
Lightning rods provide a path for electricity to follow and help to safely disperse energy into the ground. This equipment also lowers the risk of fire from a lightning strike to your home. Have a professional install your lightning protection system. Also, be sure to ask your insurance agent or broker if a lightning protection system installation is applicable for any discount or credit under your homeowner’s insurance policy.