Summer weather brings all sorts of hazards to the Midwest, with tornados and severe storms causing damage to homes throughout Indiana. While high winds and hail are common with storms and can seriously harm residences, lightning strikes are another hazard you need to be prepared for this season. Hays + Sons shares the precautions you should take to prevent damage and what to do if your home is hit by lightning.
Lightning Strike Facts
- Around 100 cloud-to-ground lightning bolts hit the Earth’s surface each second.
- Each lightning bolt can carry as many as one billion volts of electricity.
- Lightning strikes are the source of an estimated 22,600 fires each year.
- Fires from lightning strikes cause $451 million in direct property damage each year.
- 19% of reported fires started by lightning strikes occur in homes, but residential lightning-related fires account for the majority of losses.
Summer Storm Precautions
Lightning strikes pose a great danger to people and homes during the summer thunderstorm season. When inclement weather is expected, take precautions to protect your loved ones as well as your home. Taking these actions could keep you safe and help prevent damage to your residence.
- Monitor your local weather station or check a weather app to learn the severity of incoming storms.
- Follow the 30-30 rule – if you see lightning and hear thunder within 30 seconds of the flash, a storm is only about 6 miles away and you should stay inside. Once the storm passes, don’t go outside until 30 minutes afterwards to ensure it has left your area.
- Lightning strikes can cause power surges through your home’s electrical system. Before a storm, unplug electrical items from outlets throughout the house to prevent damage caused by excess voltage. If the storm is already nearby, you can still take action. Be careful not to touch the item itself, only the plug, to prevent shocks.
- If lightning strikes your home, its electricity can flow through different household materials. Avoid metal pipes and running water – turn off taps and other water sources. Don’t shower or take baths, wash dishes, or perform other activities with water during a storm. Stay off concrete floors and away from concrete walls, as the metal rebar within the concrete can conduct electricity.
- Stay indoors. Do not sit on porches. Keep away from windows and doors during a storm. Close window coverings to prevent shattered glass from blowing into the home.
What to Do If Your Home Is Hit by Lightning
- Call 911. Check on your loved ones to make sure everyone is safe and unharmed inside the home.
- Inspect the home for damage, looking for signs a fire was started. Char marks on walls, as well as melted siding or roofing, can tell you a fire was present.
- Continue to take precautions inside the home, avoiding plumbing and wiring within walls as their material could be conducting electricity.
- Have the fire department conduct a thermal imaging assessment of your home. Thermal cameras allow fire professionals to identify hot spots which could indicate a hidden fire. The fire department will be able to put out any fires found.
- Once you are in a safe location, contact your homeowner’s insurance agent to file a damage claim. Follow our guide “How to Handle an Insurance Claim” for help.
- Call us, and inform your insurance company that you’re using Hays + Sons to restore the damage to your home. Our team will come to your home right away to tarp damaged areas to prevent further destruction before the restoration process begins.
Fire Restoration Services in Central Indiana
If your home is struck by lightning and sustains damage due to a fire this summer, trust Hays + Sons for quality fire restoration services. Our team of certified professionals takes care to return your home to its former beauty, providing your family with a safe residence to return to. Contact us to learn more about fire restoration services and request a consultation at your home today.