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Severe Weather Safety Tips

Severe weather and summer go hand in hand in the low country! Here's what you can do to prepare yourself and your family.

Before lightening strikes...
Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of light or increasing wind. Listen for the sound of thunder. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightening. Lightning can travel a very long distance and strike without you seeing the storm at all.

When a storm approaches...
Find shelter in a building or car (preferably not a convertible!). The worst spot to be is in an open boat or in or near water. Avoid open spaces.

In a car...
Keep your car windows closed. Do not stop on a bridge or over a body of water. Do not park under a large tree, large branches or near power poles.

At home...
In your home, turn off the air conditioner. Power surges from lightening can overload the compressor, resulting in a costly repair job. Unplug unnecessary appliances and computers. Lightening may strike exterior electric and phone lines, inducing shocks to inside equipment. Draw blinds and shades over windows ~ this will prevent glass from shattering into your home should a window break due to objects blown by the wind. Do not use the telephone or hair dryer. Do not take a bath, shower or do dishes by hand.

In a boat...
Pull any metal object taller than the boat and lay it on the deck. This includes fishing rods, antennas and yes Bimini tops. Stay away from deck water and electronics.

On the golf course...
Get off the course as soon as you hear thunder. Golf shoes (spiked) and golf clubs are some of the best lightning rods around.

If caught outside...
If you are in the woods, take shelter under shorter trees. Stay away from poles or metal objects. Be a very small target. Get low to the ground. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Do not lie flat on the ground ~ this will make you a larger target. Do not think it is safe because lightening has already struck something ~ it can and often does strike the same spot more than once.

Remember ~ keep an eye on the sky!

For additional tips please contact Cinda Seamon, Fire & Life Safety Educatoremail icon, Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue, 843-682-5141.