“If thunder roars, go indoors”, Lightning Safety Day aims to spread awareness in Wisconsin

Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 11:31 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2021 at 4:37 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Summer in Wisconsin means severe storms can pose serious threats, including the danger of lightning strikes. Tuesday, June 22nd is Lightning Safety Awareness Day in Wisconsin.

Sauk County Emergency Management Director Jeff Jelinek said your best line of defense is to closely monitor weather conditions.

When thunderstorms are in your area, Jelinek said the last place you want to be is outside. “When you get outside, you start to see clouds, you start hearing thunder, that means lightning is close so it’s time to go indoors.”

The best protection is inside a sturdy structure, like a home. Although even when inside, there are precautions to take.

“You do not want to be on computers or electrical devices. Staying away from windows, patio doors, because lightning can come through that. Even just laying on the floor, if somehow something gets struck even in your house if you’re laying flat on the floor, electricity can go through your body,” explained Jelinek.

If you’re stranded outdoors, never seek shelter under a tree and stay away from bodies of water.

“If you’re stuck outside you want to get to the lowest point that you possibly can. So if you’re on a hill or a cliff or something like that, if you can get down to the lowest point and then crouch down on the balls of your feet or your heels to try to get the least amount of contact with the ground,” told Jelinek.

Tips from ReadyWisconsin say if someone you are with gets struck by lightning, you should call 911 immediately and start CPR if they are unresponsive. Do not be afraid to touch them, the human body cannot hold an electrical charge.

“According to the National Lightning Safety Council, 17 people were struck and killed by lightning in the United States in 2020, while at least two people have been killed by lightning strikes in the U.S. so far this year,” wrote Andrew Beckett in a Wisconsin Emergency Management press release.

According to that same release, getting inside a car with a hard top is better than being outside, but avoid touching metal surfaces inside the car.

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