Lightning and Fire Safety

This past Memorial Day, lightning is the suspect for starting 3 fires in suburban Chicago. And, according to the NFPA lightning caused an average of 31,400 fires annually from 2002 – 2005. So, what can you do to make your home safer during a storm?

If the lights go out, use a flashlight – not a candle. Candles can flip over, drip, or catch something that is flammable and start a fire. Try to keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy in case you need the extra light!

Unplug or turn off appliances and other electrical items, like computers, and air conditioners. Keep computers connected to surge protectors, so in case the power does turn off suddenly, your electrical equipment is better protected.

Avoid electrical equipment and telephones during an active lightning storm. Use battery-powered TVs and radios instead.

Shutter windows and close outside doors securely. Keep away from windows.

Avoid washing your hands, bathing, doing laundry, or washing dishes during an active lightning storm. Plumbing and water can become a conductor, so proceed with caution during a storm!

If a person is struck by lightning be sure to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number for help. Anyone who has sustained a lightning strike requires professional medical care. Check the person for burns and other injuries. If the person has stopped breathing, call 9-1-1 and begin CPR. If the person is breathing normally, look for other possible injuries and care for them as necessary. People who have been struck by lightning do not retain an electrical charge and can be handled safely.

Fire safety tips are brought to you by Team Firestopper! We’re working to stop fires before they start in your community! For more information or fire tips, visit www.chicagoredcross.org/tfs or www.redcross.org/homefires!

Sources: American Red Cross and www.nfpa.org.

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