Lightning safety tips for you, your family and your home

A lightning bolt strikes down during a storm in Jersey City, N.J.

When a powerful lightning bolt hit Southern California's famed Venice Beach this weekend it triggered a wave of panic after a man was killed and 13 others were injured. Other recent incidents involving dangerous lightning include a Southern California man struck on a golf course and a car catching on fire after lightning hit a home.

Every year in the United States, approximately 60 people are killed by lightning and hundreds more are injured, according to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes. While thunderstorms, and the accompanying lightning, might be more common in other parts of than country than it is in Los Angeles, it's important to remember that such storms can cause injury or even death as well as damage your home. FLASH offers the following tips to help keep your home and family safe:

  • Stay alert for signs of thunder and lightning and don't wait for the rain to seek shelter -- lightning strikes often happen before the rain starts to fall.

  • If possible, take shelter in a larger building or a fully enclosed vehicle. Close all the windows and don't lean on doors. Turn off, unplug and stay away from appliances and electronics.

  • If you do find yourself outside during a thunderstorm, don't take shelter under small, partially enclosed spaces or near trees.

  • Stay away from metal objects, including fences.

  • Stay at least 15 feet away from other people and crouch down with your feet together and cover your ears with your hands to minimize hearing damage from the thunder.

Once the storm has passed, wait at least 30 minutes to resume outdoor activities.
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weatherlightningsnow stormsafetyu.s. & world