Why Lightning Isn't Just A Threat Outside Your Home

News  Why Lightning Isn't Just A Threat Outside Your Home

Nov 05, 2020

Learn how lightning can be just as dangerous indoors as it is outside.

Inclement weather is all around us. As the seasons change, threats of hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires threaten various regions across the country. While all of these natural weather disasters can be life threatening, there is one in particular you should be on the lookout for while you’re at home. Severe thunderstorms are common across the U.S. but the impact they have in your home can be just as bad as outside.

According to the ‘National Weather Service’, lightning strikes are a common occurrence but can be just as harmful for people inside their home as it is outside. More than 1,000 people get struck by lightning every year in the U.S with at least 100 of them dying as a result of the strike. This information, provided by a ‘Science.HowStuffWorks.com' article also states “lightning can reach you indoors if you’re in contact with telephone lines or plumbing.”  

When lightning strikes near your home (or on top of your home) the charge can travel through grounded phone lines and into your house. Meaning if you’re holding a landline phone at the time, you can become a conductor and take on that charge. Lightning strikes can also send electrical charges through plumbing as well. So if you’re taking a shower during a thunderstorm be weary, because that same charge can travel through metal pipes and reach you or a family member.

Although lightning in any form can be dangerous there are some things you can do to keep you and your family safe. With the help of the ‘National Oceanic and Atmospheric Assocation’ (NOAA), Here is a list of tips to keep in mind during a thunderstorm:

  1. Stay off and away from corded phones. If you need to make a phone call during a thunderstorm, use a mobile or cordless phone.
  2. Don’t use electrical equipment directly such as computers, TV’s or cords. Instead try using remotes (when available) to remove yourself from the charges path.
  3. Try to stand clear of exterior windows and doors that may contain metal. Any type of metal connecting the outside of your home with the indoors could be used as a conductor.
  4. Avoid plumbing. Think twice before washing your hands, taking a shower or washing dishes in the midst of a thunderstorm.
  5. Protect your pets. Dog houses aren’t safe shelters during a storm. Animals chained to trees or metal runners are vulnerable to lightning strikes.

*For a complete list of lightning tips click here

One last thing to keep in mind (if you can) is to be aware of what materials were used in the construction of your house. Most homes use ‘PVC’ piping indoors when it comes to plumbing. However, this mostly depends on where you live. Checking with a contractor or home maintenance expert can help you learn how your house is setup to deal with severe weather. For more information on indoor lightning strikes as well as other potential natural disasters you can check out weather.gov.

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