By Devan Nieto, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross
You know what they say, “April showers bring May flowers”. Well, as the month of April is quickly approaching it’s important that we know what precautions to take if we find ourselves caught in the middle of a storm- specifically those with high winds and lightning.
Roaring winds are often an overlooked beast that has the ability to destroy everything from power lines to trees by sending them into unpredictable projectiles.
So how does one protect his/herself if caught outside during strong winds?
The first, and most obvious precaution, is to do your best to find a secure shelter or take shelter next to a building. If possible, steer clear of roads and train tracks- these strong winds can end up pushing you toward the street and into oncoming traffic.
If you are behind the wheel when the strong winds begin blowing, it’s important to keep both hands on the wheel and slow down- this will allow you to have more control over the swaying vehicle. Make sure to keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you and watch for objects that could blowing across your path.
Lighting is another monster that is unleashed during storms. The natural phenomena, although spectacular visually, is very dangerous and kills approximately 2,000 worldwide each year.
Lightning can strike everything from trees to cars and houses, therefore, it’s VERY important to take note of safety precautions before it’s too late.
The majority of us understand and know just how important it is for us to stay inside in the midst of a lightning storm- but what about the safety steps we should take once inside? What few realize is that hazards are still present when inside a shelter and it’s vital to avoid touching and using certain household items. For example, avoid using any electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity including computers, corded phones, and televisions. Additionally, abstain from utilizing showers, faucets, sinks, and plumbing because lightning can easily travel through the pipes of a house.
For more information on how to stay safe during a storm, make sure to check out the Red Cross webpage.