Winter and Spring weather usually means staying in and snuggling by the fire, but it can also bring severe weather. Threatening thunderstorms often loom large in Northern California so it’s important to be prepared for downpours and accompanying lightning, which can strike at any time. Consider the following suggestions when planning get-together’s in your homeowners association this season to reduce the risk of a lightning strike.
Watch the weather
Pay attention to your local weather forecast before participating in activities. If there’s a chance of thunderstorms, consider rescheduling or moving events to another date. If that’s not possible, have an emergency plan in place in case a severe storm rolls in and designate a sufficient nearby structure as an emergency shelter.
If severe thunderstorms are imminent, go indoors and wait until they pass. Safe, enclosed shelters include homes, schools, offices, shopping malls and vehicles with hard tops and closed windows. Open structures and spaces do not provide adequate protection.
Duck and crouch
If you’re caught outside during a severe storm, it’s important to crouch low on the ground, tuck your head and cover your ears to help protect yourself from harm. Do not lie down; lightning strikes can produce extremely strong electrical currents that run along the top of the ground, and laying horizontally increases electrocution risk.
Turn off faucets
During a thunderstorm, lightning can sometimes be conducted through the plumbing. Avoid any type of contact with running water, including bathing, showering, and washing your hands, dishes, or clothes.
Turn off electronics
All electrical appliances—televisions, computers, laptops, gaming systems, stoves, and more—that are plugged into an electrical outlet could carry a current from a lightning strike. Surge protectors will reduce the risk of damaging electronics.
Stay away from windows
Not only is lightning a threat, but high winds and hail create flying debris that could be harmful during a thunderstorm. Close all windows and doors and keep away from them.
Having a plan for emergency situations is a wise thing for the HOA board to have in place for the homeowners association. Also, take a look at the insurance for the Association to evaluate if the community is adequately covered the way it should be.
The Board can also encourage HOA members to have individual family plans in place for their household as well. When members feel safe, it benefits the entire Association community because people look out for one another and have a general feeling of well-being.