published Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

TN fire marshal urges safety about lightning during storm season

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Fire Marshal Julie Mix McPeak says residents of the state should take precautions and be aware of the risks when it comes to lightning.

McPeak's office says National Weather Service figures indicate lightning causes about 4,400 home structure fires annually as well as 12 fire-related deaths and $1 billion in damages.

Lightning may strike as far as 10 miles from rainfall, meaning many lightning deaths happen before storms or after they appear to have passed.

Outside, stay out of water, seek shelter and if someone is struck by lightning, call 911 immediately. Indoors, unplug appliances and other electrical items and turn off air conditioners, or turn off anything you're unable to unplug. Stay off corded phones, computers and other equipment that puts you in contact with electricity or plumbing.

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