If you’ve ever had a close encounter with lightning, you know how frightening it can be. I’ve had a couple of close calls in my lifetime. While I wasn’t injured and the damage was insignificant, it ruined some of our electronics, including a jukebox, CD player, and cordless telephone.
Here are some interesting lightning statistics:
- In the United States, there are approximately 40 million ground lightning strikes annually.
- Around the world, there are eight million ground lightning strikes daily. This equates to three billion ground strikes per year.
- The top three states for lightning strikes based on the strike density per square mile are Florida, Louisiana, and Texas.
- The Empire State Building in New York gets struck on average 23 times per year.
- In 2021, the average cost of a lightning claim was $21,578.
While a lightning strike on a home is rare, knowing how to keep yourself and your family safe is essential.
1. Remain calm.
Regardless of the situation, it’s always best to remain calm. Doing so can aid in making decisions.
2. Get out quickly.
If you see fire or smell smoke in your home, evacuate quickly. Be sure others in your home know how to do the same. Never remain inside your home to try and save your personal property. Much of our personal property can be replaced. It’s not worth risking your life for it.
3. Call 911.
Once everyone is out safely, call 911. Tell them you suspect a fire in part of your home because of a lightning strike. This will help firefighters figure out what part of your home to look at first. If they don’t see anything, they may be able to use thermal imaging cameras to see heat inside the walls.
4. Wait for the all-clear.
Don’t re-enter your home until the fire department deems it safe. Once you re-enter your home, look for damaged items such as TVs, garage door openers, appliances, and outlets. A melted outlet will need to be repaired by a professional electrician.
5. Contact your insurance company.
Quickly filing your claim will help ensure the quickest possible resolution. Insurers may offer loss reporting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by calling a claims representative or using an online app. The claims representative should explain the claims process, answer all your questions, and offer guidance, when needed, to help select repair services.
6. Hire a reputable contractor.
The choice of whom to use for repairs to your home is yours; however, selecting a reputable and experienced contractor is critical.
Even if a lightning strike didn’t damage your home, it’s always a good idea to inspect your home for damage after each storm. I’ll never forget the time when I thought my home was fine. It wasn’t until a few days later when I was cutting the grass, that I realized my siding was damaged by hail.
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