Take precautions to avoid becoming part of Mother Nature’s lightning show

Humans may save their fireworks for July, but Mother Nature likes to put on a show in springtime. One sure sign of spring is thunderstorms, often violent and severe. Lightning often comes with these storms, and while it’s quite rare for people to be struck by lightning, it’s important to take precautions. The best thing to do in a thunderstorm is to stay put. Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas said the safest places to be in a storm are buildings equipped with lightning rods and in enclosed cars. While indoors, avoid using the telephone or electrical appliances. Since these can conduct electricity, a person could get a jolt if lightning strikes. If a person is caught outside when a storm hits, they should stay away from tall objects that can conduct electricity, like trees, flagpoles or fences. Lightning tends to be drawn toward the tallest object in an area. They should also look for a depressed area or a ditch to lie down in. Dr. Paul Pepe, a UT Southwestern emergency specialist, said to make sure any ditch you find to lie in is a dry one because water on the ground can also conduct electricity. As scary as being struck by lightning sounds, it’s not necessarily fatal. In fact, two-thirds of the people who get struck by lightning survive. But that doesn’t mean precautions should not be taken when storms brew.

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