Fire Officials Urge People To Stay Safe During Lightning Storms - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Fire Officials Urge People To Stay Safe During Lightning Storms

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We've seen quite a bit of lightning in our area this week, and now fire officials are reminding people how to avoid becoming a victim of a strike.

There's a small chance you'll get struck by lightning, but emergency officials don't want you to take the risk.

"We're in a monsoonal flow, which usually means we're going to get thunderstorms both wet and dry," said Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District Chief Charles Moore.

With that comes the heavy rain, wind, thunder and sometimes lightning. Chief Moore says to not be near any sort of metal during a thunderstorm. So, avoid activities like golfing because the metal from that golf club conducts electricity.

"Even if you don't get hit directly, if you're in contact with metal or trees or anything, the electricity can still conduct into your body from the ground," Chief Moore said.

It goes without saying to head for shelter or a car when you get caught in a storm.

"When you see lightning and you hear thunder, it's a good time to start moving inside because it can travel a long way," Moore said. "Even if you think it's not very close, lightning can travel at horizontal distances at many, many miles."

Even when you're inside, fire officials are urging you to be careful. They say to stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches. Unplug computers and turn off air conditioners because the power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.

Officials say to not use a corded phone during a storm. Cordless and cell phones not connected to a battery charger in the wall are okay to use. Also, try to avoid using any sort of plumbing.

"You don't want to be near any copper piping," Moore said. "So, like the shower or the bathtub is actually a bad place to be during a storm."

He says to wait for 30 minutes without thunder before you are clear to go back outside.

"Let the storm pass. Let the skies clear, and then resume your activities outside."

Chief Moore says before calling 911 to report lightning-sparked fires, look at the area for awhile and watch for any smoke or fire. Once you see it, having an accurate location and describing how the big you think the fire is would be helpful for crews.

"A football field is about the size of an acre. So, if you can describe it in terms of the number of acres, that will be very, very helpful for us."

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