Why you should stay away from concrete during summer storms

Every year, 300 people are struck by lightning in the United States
Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 4:27 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - It may be hot and dry this week, but those summer storms filled with thunder and lightning will return soon enough. That’s why now is a good time to remember lightning safety. Every year, an average of 300 people in the U.S. are struck by lightning, and Louisiana is among the top ten states in the number of deaths each year.

The most common activity lightning strike victims are doing when struck, is fishing.

You may remember some of the common safety tips, like staying away from open areas and tall objects like trees during lightning. The safest place to be is in an enclosed building with four walls or a vehicle. Things like tents and picnic shelters won’t protect you. If you can hear thunder, you can be struck, even if there’s no rain. Make sure to stay away from common conductors of electricity like water and metal. There’s also another common material that can be just as dangerous that you might not think about.

“It’s the rebar that’s within concrete and so it’s either the rebar that’s within the concrete walls or within the concrete floor,” said NOAA lightning expert Jeffrey Peters in Norman, Oklahoma. “It can also have wiring that’s imbedded within those. So if lightning were to hit your home and then it can travel through the concrete. So if you’re standing, either standing or lying down on the floor of the concrete or if you’re leaning against and lightning were to hit that structure, you could be affected by that lightning.”

If someone is struck, call 911 immediately. Start CPR if you know how or grab the closest defibrillator. It’s also important to know that lightning can strike the same place twice.

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