The recent hot and humid weather has led to severe thunderstorms across much of the UK, and they’re frightening for many people.
Others find them fascinating, and they stand at the window for hours watching the lightning flashing across the sky.
However, this is exactly the wrong thing to do if you want to stay safe, as lightning can pass through glass – so you should try to keep your distance and not stand too close to doors and windows as a storm is passing.
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In order to keep yourself and your home safe when in the house during a thunderstorm, there are certain steps you should take.
Firstly, unplug as many electrical appliances as you can. Lightning strikes houses regularly – even if you’re not the highest point in the landscape – and it will travel through the electrical system, causing power surges and potentially damaging your electrical equipment and even starting a fire.
So unplug the TV, the computer and even the kettle until the storm has passed. You can still use a laptop or other device, as long as it is not plugged into the mains.
You should also avoid using a landline phone, as this is connected to the house, and if lightning strikes it can pass through to you.
More surprisingly, the experts advise householders not to use their water supply during a thunderstorm, as this, too, can be a conductor of lightning.
The advice is not to have a bath or shower, wash the dishes, use the washing machine or even wash your hands under the tap as a storm passes, because water is an excellent conductor of electricity. Should lightning strike while you are engaging in one of these activities, you may well get a shock.
Another thing to remember is that a storm does not have to be close for lightning to strike. According to the BBC News, you can be hit up to 10 miles away from the centre of a storm.
And if you’re not at home but out and about, remember the most dangerous place is under a tree, so don’t take shelter. If you can get indoors, or into a car, you’ll be much safer.