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Indoor Lightning Safety Means More Than Just Seeking Shelter

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Damage from a lightning strike at a home in SE Aurora on June 5, 2013. The strike was so powerful it caused the living ceiling to collapse and blew some outdoor light bulbs in the home next door. (credit: CBS)

Damage from a lightning strike at a home in SE Aurora on June 5, 2013. The strike was so powerful it caused the living ceiling to collapse and blew some outdoor light bulbs in the home next door. (credit: CBS)

Chris Spears By Chris Spears
CBS4 Meteorologist
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DENVER (CBS4) – As the saying, when the thunder roars, go indoors!

Statistics show that you are much less likely to fall victim to a lightning strike during a thunderstorm if inside sturdy shelter.

However, being inside doesn’t mean you are 100 percent safe from the dangers of a lightning strike.

SEEK STURDY SHELTER

The best place to be during a thunderstorms is inside a house, office building or store.

Small open shelters, such as those found in a park, on a golf course or at an athletic field, are designed to protect people from rain and sun, but not lightning.

Small wooden, vinyl or metal structures, such as sheds, are also not safe during a storm

THINGS TO AVOID INSIDE

Lightning typically enters a building either through a direct strike to wires or pipes that extend outside the structure, through the ground, or through an open door or window.

Once inside, lightning can travel through the electrical, phone and plumbing lines. The charge can even travel through metal wires and bars in concrete walls or flooring.

The use of a telephone is the leading cause for indoor lightning injuries in the United States. For a telephone to be a risk, it must be a corded phone or a cordless that is in contact with the base unit.

Injuries can also occur near electronics, such as televisions and radios.

Others things that can become a hazard during a lightning strike include washers, dryers, computers and even hair dryers.

It’s best to avoid anything connected to the plumbing, such as bathtubs and shower stalls.

Some things you can do to protect your home and family include unplugging electronics and appliances before a thunderstorm threatens.

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