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Protection during storms: what should you do when the heavens open?

Hot summer days often end with a storm, with thunder and lightning frequently accompanied by gusts of wind and heavy rain. What should you do in the event of a storm? What is the right thing to do after a lightning strike? We will show you how to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Watch out for lightning!

During a storm, electric voltage is discharged via lightning. It is impossible to calculate or predict where it is going to strike, so you should be exceptionally careful and seek shelter in a building as quickly as possible. If a person is hit by lightning, call the emergency services immediately and perform first aid.  


A storm is brewing: the right way to act

Storms can be particularly dangerous if you are outside. Make sure to check the weather forecast before you head off on a long walk or hike in the summer. However, it is very hard to predict a storm. So, always keep an eye on the sky and, if in doubt, head home early.


Protecting yourself during storms when at home

In principle, you are safe if you remain within your home during a thunderstorm, but you do need to take a few precautionary measures. Do not take a shower or bath during the thunderstorm. This is because the electrical energy of a lightning strike hitting the roof can be spread by the water pipes. If your house is kitted out with a specialist lightning protection system, you are protected from lightning, even when you are stood under the shower. In addition, you should close all the doors and windows to protect the inside of your home from rain during the storm. 


Protecting yourself during storms when outside

If a storm catches you unawares outside, you need to find somewhere to shelter as soon as possible. Your best bet is a building, but if this is not possible, stay far away from solitary trees. Crouch down on the ground and make yourself as small as possible. Do not, under any circumstances, lie flat and do not stand with your legs spread.


If you are caught by a storm when swimming, bathing or driving a boat, leave the water and shore areas immediately.


Protecting yourself during storms when travelling

If you are in a car, you will be protected during thunderstorms as its metal body serves as a Faraday Cage, acting like a lightning rod. Close all the windows and do not touch any metal parts within the interior. Drive carefully, or, ideally, stop the car.


If you are cycling or on a motorcycle, stop immediately and seek cover in a building. If this is not possible, stand under a bridge and keep a good distance from your bicycle or motorcycle.


How to recognise storms ahead of time

Various weather apps can warn you about thunderstorms before they hit, but a quick glance to the sky can also help you spot upcoming storms. Clouds extending skyward like towers are often a harbinger of an evening storm, while humid air and the wind picking up can also be signs of an imminent thunderstorm.