What to do in specific emergencies?

There are things you can do to help prepare for extreme weather or other emergencies in order to reduce the impact of these events on you, your family and friends.

Thunderstorms and lightning

There are many myths surrounding lightning - such as lightning never strikes the same place twice or that it always strikes the tallest object.

Both are false, as lightning strikes the best conductor on the ground - whether it has been struck before or not

Preparation before Thunderstorms

  • Pay attention to severe weather warnings issued by the Met Office (Severe weather warnings will be posted on the Emergency Planning home page)
  • Unplug all non-essential electrical appliances including the television, as lightning can cause damaging power surges
  • Seek shelter if possible. When you hear thunder you are already within range of where the next ground flash may occur - lightning can strike as far as 10 miles away from the centre of a storm

Protection during Thunderstorms

  • Avoid using the telephone as telephone lines can conduct electricity
  • Avoid using taps and sinks as metal pipes can conduct electricity
  • If outdoors, avoid water and find a low-lying open space that is a safe distance from trees, poles or metal objects
  • Avoid activities such as golf, rod fishing or boating on a lake
  • If playing golf, stop play immediately, do not use an umbrella or take shelter under trees
  • If you find yourself in an exposed location it may be advisable to squat close to the ground, with hands on knees and with head tucked between them. Try to touch as little of the ground with your body as possible, do not lie down on the ground
  • If you feel your hair stand on end, drop to the squat position IMMEDIATELY

Recovery after Thunderstorms

  • Avoid downed power lines or broken cables
  • If someone is struck by lightning they often suffer severe burns. The strike also affects the heart so check that they have a pulse
  • Thunderstorms may result in widespread power loss. If you have lost electrical power, check if neighbours have also been cut off. If they have, contact Central Networks on 0800 056 8090 as they may not be aware that you have lost supply