COUNTRY Financial Promotes Lightning Awareness

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BLOOMINGTON – COUNTRY Financial has released lightning safety tips in conjunction with Lightning Safety Awareness Week which runs June 22 – 28.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), lightning strikes claim 32 lives a year on average. They cause another 200 injuries in addition to deaths.

Lightning can strike up to 10 miles from the storm. Safety experts say higher caution should be taken before, during and after a storm.

“Lightning is one of the most underrated severe weather conditions and isn't taken seriously enough,” says COUNTRY Financial senior loss control representative Eric Vanasdale.

Vanasdale offers the following tips based on NOAA's guidelines to help people stay safe during storms:

1.    Watch and listen. Storms even 15 miles away can produce lightning under clear skies. Invest in a good weather radio or reliable app, and listen for thunder. When in doubt, take cover in a structure with plumbing and wiring, or in a car with a metal top.

2.    Center yourself. Even secure locations can still be dangerous when lightning is present. Stay away from doors, windows, and porches. Roll up windows in your vehicle. 

3.    Unplug. Electronic devices are susceptible to electric surge caused by lightning strikes when plugged in. In addition to creating a major fire hazard, the electrical surge can damage your devices. Use an unplugged cell phone or other battery-operated devices during an electrical storm.

4.    No waterworks. Using running water during a storm is not encouraged. If lightning strikes your house, it's likely to travel through the plumbing before it reaches the ground.

5.    Give help. If lightning strikes someone near you, be careful not to approach them while there are still dangers in the surrounding area.  

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