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Résister aux orages violents
June 2018

What to do during severe storms

What to do during severe storms

Thunderstorms always come with the return of hot weather. They can be majestic, impressive and even frightening but, most of all, they can cause major property damage and expose you to serious injuries, an event that, contradictory to popular belief, does not only happen to others.

Find shelter, fast!

When a severe storm is brewing, you’ll hear about it in the media. Follow the news and keep an eye on your weather app; this way you’ll be sure to get any alerts. When the storm hits, the first thing you should do is seek shelter, no matter where you happen to be.

If you’re inside:

Close all the windows and doors and stay in a room in the middle of the house. Unplug any electrical appliances, then keep your distance from the outlets. Avoid using your desktop computer or TV: an electrical surge could cause them irreparable damage.

If you’re in a vehicle:

Whether you’re travelling by car, boat, or bicycle, you should quickly seek shelter. Always check the weather before going out on an excursion. If the wind picks up and you see large clouds gathering, it’s time to head home! The inside of a road vehicle can serve as shelter from the storm. If lightning does strike your vehicle, don’t get out to seek help.

If you’re outside:

Make yourself as small as possible! Find a low area, like a ditch, and squat down. Stay away from trees, utility poles and power lines, bodies of water, or any high structure that may conduct electricity.

If the storm causes damage

If the storm has caused significant damage to your property, call the fire department: they’ll be able to tell you if it’s safe to go inside your home. Next, call your insurance company. Take photos of the damage both inside AND outside your home, if applicable; this will speed up your claim!

Clearing the air: 5 lightning-related myths

  1. Some people mistakenly believe that lightning won’t strike if it isn’t raining. Not true! Most lightning victims are struck in dry weather.
  2. Rubber-soled shoes and car and bike tires are good protection against being struck by lightning. False: regardless of the type of shoes you are wearing, nothing can prevent lightning from taking a path it wants to take. Tires won’t help you either.
  3. Anything struck by lightning stores an electrical charge that can shock you as well on contact. Also false: once lightning has struck, all danger has been avoided.
  4. Lightning never strikes the same place twice. Toronto’s CN Tower alone proves this belief wrong—it’s struck dozens of times a year!
  5. A faraway storm doesn’t pose any risk. Once again, false: storms can move... in a flash! A storm that looks far away may be overhead in just a matter of minutes.
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