Knowing how to stay safe during a massive storm is essential when living in this part of the country.
- Thunderstorms are common in Florida
- These storms can be dangerous
- Following some quick tips can help keep you safe
- Investing in a UPS system can minimize your disruptions
You don’t want to mess with a thunderstorm. An average lightning bolt generates about 300 million volts of energy, an enormous number compared to the 120 volts your household outlets provide, so you can see the risk of getting stuck in a storm.
There are roughly 100,000 thunderstorms in the United States each year, with Florida gaining a reputation as the nation’s lightning capital. In fact, Florida experiences between 70 and 100 days with at least one thunderstorm per year, and over 2,000 lightning-related injuries have occurred in the state in the last 50 years.
Escaping thunderstorms while living in Florida is impossible, so you’ll have to do everything possible to avoid the danger they create. Here are seven thunderstorm safety tips to follow when living in this active part of the country.
1. Head indoors
Inside your home or commercial property is the safest place to be in a thunderstorm, so make your way indoors if you hear thunder or see a flash of lightning. You’ll want to figure out a safe place for your family or staff to wait out the storm, ensuring everyone is away from windows, skylights, and glass doors.
Many storms in Florida can be accompanied by strong winds, even if they aren’t hurricanes, so staying away from doors and windows can help keep everyone safe. Discuss the dangers with everyone in your home and office to ensure people are taking the necessary precautions.
2. Find adequate shelter when stuck outside
Getting inside isn’t always possible, so there’s a chance you’ll have to find another shelter to keep yourself safe. Your car is relatively safe because it’s grounded through your tires, so roll your windows up and turn the radio off until the storm passes.
If you can’t get to a car or building, hiding under some small shrubs or between some rocks is your next best option. A ditch or trench can also provide some protection if you don’t have anywhere else to escape. Don’t lie flat in this situation – you’ll want to curl into a ball and cover your head so your body is exposed as little as possible.
3. Stay away from tall things
It might be tempting to hide under a tree or tall structure you come across while trying to escape a storm, but that’s actually the worst thing you can do. Lightning is more likely to strike tall objects, increasing your chances of being hit along with them.
You should also avoid hilltops or peaks as the storm approaches and stay entirely away from telephone poles. Any shelter you seek should be low to the ground or completely indoors.
4. Avoid contact with water
You don’t want to be anywhere near the water during a thunderstorm. If you’re on a boat, get to shore and seek shelter immediately. You’ll also want to leave the beach if you see a storm approaching – return to your car or find other shelter as soon as possible.
It’s even a good idea to avoid water inside your home during a storm because the energy from a lightning strike can travel through your plumbing. Don’t shower, wash dishes, or do laundry as the storm passes through your area because you’ll be putting yourself at unnecessary risk.
5. Don’t use electronic equipment
Watching television or listening to the radio might seem like a great way to pass the time while you wait for the storm to end, but you should avoid using electronics as much as possible. This is because lightning can travel through your electrical system, damaging the devices or hurting the user in the process.
Even corded telephones can be risky because a direct strike could travel through the cord and injure the person using it. However, cordless and cell phones are fine to use during the storm as long as they aren’t plugged into the wall.
6. Move away from concrete
Concrete seems like it should be safe during a thunderstorm, but you should be aware of the danger. The gist is that concrete floors and walls are sometimes reinforced with metal bars or wires, and lightning can travel through this metal and injure you.
It’s best to avoid sitting or lying on a concrete floor if you hear thunder in your surrounding area, and don’t lean against concrete walls. If you have a concrete parking garage at your office, you’ll want to enter your car or go back inside the building until the storm is over.
7. Turn off the circuit breaker
Power surges can damage electronic equipment inside your home or business and knock your electricity service out as the storm comes through your area. The best way to prevent this is to turn your circuit breaker off as the storm approaches.
You might also invest in some UPS blackout protection. These devices will keep your electrical service active during an outage, so you don’t lose valuable information or experience equipment damage. An uninterruptible power supply will protect your sensitive equipment during a power surge, saving you time and money.
Get your UPS system
You can’t avoid thunderstorms in Florida, as you have to deal with occasional extreme weather to live in this slice of paradise. However, learning some thunderstorm safety tips and taking as many precautions as possible can help keep you safe through any storm. Preparing yourself, your building, your employees, and your family ensures everyone is ready for the massive weather events the Sunshine State brings.
Universal Electrical Services is a residential and commercial electrical contractor in South Florida. We can install a UPS system at your business, minimizing downtime and protecting your valuable equipment. Contact Universal Electrical Services today for more information or a free quote.