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DES MOINES, Iowa – (June 25, 2014) –Summer is the peak season for lightning strikes, which kill an average of 51 Americans every year and injure hundreds more. The National Weather Service has designated this week as Lightning Safety Awareness Week. MidAmerican Energy Company encourages all customers to learn the warning signs of lightning and follow these guidelines to avoid being struck:
- If a storm is coming or already underway, take shelter indoors. Lightning often precedes rain, so don’t wait for raindrops to fall before heading indoors.
- Lightning can travel through wiring and water pipes. During storms, stay away from bathtubs, sinks, corded phones and anything that uses electricity, such as TVs, computers and appliances. Stay away from windows and open doors.
- If you are outdoors away from home, stay near proper shelter – a large, enclosed building with conventional wiring and plumbing. If you can hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you. Take shelter immediately and remain in the shelter for at least 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.
- If you can’t get into a building, your next best choice is a hardtop metal vehicle with the windows rolled up. Do not touch the vehicle frame, steering wheel, ignition, gearshift or radio until the storm has passed.
- If you are caught outdoors with no safe shelter nearby, the following actions may reduce your risk of being struck by lightning:
- Lightning is drawn to tall objects and metal, so avoid trees, canopies, small picnic or rain shelters, or anything metal, such as flagpoles, light poles, bleachers, golf clubs or fences.
- Avoid rivers, lakes or swimming pools. If you are boating, head to shore.
- Avoid wide open areas, including sports fields.
- If you are outside, far from proper shelter, and the threat of lightning is imminent, the safest thing to do is move at least 15 feet away from other people, put your feet together, squat down, tuck your head and cover your ears. Do not lie down or put your hands or knees on the ground. When the immediate threat of lightning has passed, continue heading to the safest shelter.
While these actions may lessen your risk of being struck by lightning, there is no truly safe place outdoors during a thunderstorm. During Lightning Safety Awareness Week, the National Weather Service reminds you: “When thunder roars, go indoors!” For more information to help you and your family stay safe during summer storms, visit our Storm Center at www.midamericanenergy.com.
About MidAmerican Energy Company
MidAmerican Energy Company, Iowa’s largest energy company, provides electric service to 739,000 customers and natural gas service to 719,000 customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. It is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. Information about MidAmerican Energy is available on the company’s website, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages, which can be accessed via www.midamericanenergy.com.