Lightning strikes may be less common than the damage caused by flood waters or high wind, but they are still a very real danger during a storm situation. In fact, according to information provided by the National Lightning Safety Institute (NLSI), it is probable to assume that one of every two hundred homes will be struck by lightning each year in the United States.
But even with this level of prevalence, many Americans do not know what to do to protect their family, should lightning strike their home. If you are one of these people, here are three actions you should always take in the event of a lightning strike to your home.
Make sure all occupants are safe and immediately call for help
In addition to the potential of electrical shock, homes that are struck by lightning are also at risk of catching fire. This is why the first actions after a lightning strike should always be to locate all occupants and check for injuries and then to call 911 and request assistance for any health issues, as well as a response from the fire department. Since a lightning strike can create a situation where combustible materials can smolder for hours before flame or smoke is visible, it is critically important to have the fire department check the home for fire danger.
Report the incident to your home insurance agent
Even if the fire department's inspection shows that there is no risk of fire or damage to the home, it is important to make sure your home insurance provider is notified. This is important because lightning strikes often cause damage to electrical circuits or appliances that may not be fully determined until days or even weeks after the strike.
In many cases, appliances, water well pumps, and entertainment equipment may stop working correctly in the days following a lightning strike. Homeowners who report the strike immediately to their insurance company are helping to verify the claim, should they need to file one later.
Have the home's electrical system checked for damage by a licensed electrician
The next step to take immediately after your home is struck by lightning is to schedule an appointment for the electrical system to be inspected by a licensed electrician as soon as possible. This professional will look for evidence of damage to the home's electrical panel and circuits that could present a safety hazard for the occupants of the home. When scheduling the appointment, be sure to explain that the home has just been struck by lightning so that an electrician can respond as quickly as possible.