Electrical storms can happen any time of year in the Las Vegas Valley, making it important that you know how to stay safe indoors during one. A lightning strike can be devastating in the right circumstances, but it’s relatively easy to mitigate against them. Knowing some key electrical storm safety tips can help you reduce the likelihood that you are harmed or that your property is damaged during a storm.
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What Are Electrical Storms?
Electrical storms, also known as thunderstorms, involve the atmospheric discharge of electricity as lighting and the resulting sound, known as thunder. Electrical storms are dangerous because lightning carries a tremendous amount of energy in a short burst, with anywhere from one to ten billion joules in an average bolt. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 2019 saw more than $900 million in claims paid out to 77,000 policyholders across the United States. The National Fire Protection Association also reports that between 2007 to 2011, lightning caused an average of 22,600 fires and $451 million in property damage annually. While we may be used to storms living in the Las Vegas area, these blasts of energy need to be taken seriously.
Electrical Storm Safety Tips
While lighting can cause considerable damage and harm if it strikes you or your home, there are a few practical steps you can take at home to reduce the risk that an electrical storm poses to you. Check out these electrical storm safety tips that you can implement today.
Indoors is the safest place you can be during an electrical storm. Stay away from windows, as they can shatter if lightning strikes nearby. In rare instances, the lightning can actually pass through a chip in the window and strike those inside.
Don’t Use Electronics
Electricity can travel through the wires in your home during a lightning strike and exit from any electronic devices that you have plugged in and turned on at the time. The lightning can damage or destroy the device and potentially injure those nearby. It’s safe to use your phone or devices that aren’t plugged into your home’s electrical system. Surge protectors can reduce the chance that a lightning strike or electrical surge damages your devices and appliances.
Avoid Metal Surfaces
Metal is an excellent conductor of electricity, which means you should avoid all contact with it during an electrical storm. While the metal won’t attract lightning on its own, it can conduct electricity much further than other media. Surprisingly, lightning can also be conducted by the rebar inside of reinforced concrete. If any surface of your home is made of concrete, avoid it until the electrical storm passes.
Stay Out of Water
Lightning can move along the metal in your home’s pipes and through any water that comes out of them. If there’s an electrical storm in your area, don’t shower, wash dishes, bathe, or otherwise come into contact with water from your home’s plumbing system. If you do, you place yourself at risk of electric shock.
How to Protect Your Electronics During an Electrical Storm
Here are four tips to protect electronics during an electrical storm:
- Unplug appliances and electronic devices such as televisions, computers, and gaming systems. Any lightning or electrical surge can travel through your home’s electrical system and damage devices or appliances that are still plugged into it.
- Install a whole house surge protector to your home’s electrical panel. Do not rely on an outlet power strip to protect your electronics during a storm.
- Do not use electronics that are connected to your home’s electrical system.
- Do not charge any electrical devices during a storm.
Protect Your Family and Home During Electrical Storms
While electrical storms pose real dangers to your home and household, there are many electrical storm safety steps that you can take to minimize their potential harm. Keeping your home’s electrical system up-to-date is one of the best preventative measures that you can take to safely weather a storm. An experienced electrical company in your area can identify any problems there might be with your home’s electrical system and fix them before lightning finds them. Fixing those flickering lights and tripped breakers now could also improve your everyday quality of life.