Saint Louis University

Thunderstorms

During a thunderstorm:

  • Seek shelter inside of a building away from glass windows and doors, and metal objects.
  • If you cannot get inside, go to a low place such as a ravine, valley or ditch.
  • Be alert for flash flooding.
  • If you feel your hair stand on end (which indicates that lightning is about to strike), squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet and place your hands over your ears and your head between your knees. Make yourself the smallest target possible and minimize your contact with the ground. DO NOT lie flat on the ground.

Before a thunderstorm:

  • "If thunder roars, go indoors" because no place outside is truly safe when lightning is in the area. You should remain indoors until at least 30 minutes after you hear the last clap of thunder.
  • Monitor the NOAA All Hazard radios located throughout the campus, the local news channels, and the National Weather Service website for changing conditions.  
  • Close your windows, your curtains, blinds or shades and secure outside doors.
  • Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords, including corded phones. (Cordless and cellular telephones are safe to use.) If you plan to unplug any electronic equipment, do so well before the storm arrives. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
  • Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes, and do not do laundry.
  • Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches and balconies.
  • Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.
  • Get inside a home, building, or hard top automobile (not a convertible). Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside. Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.
  • Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
  • BE PREPARED TO TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION IF THE STORM WORSENS OR CONDITIONS CHANGE. 

After a thunderstorm:

  • If you have been struck by lightning or need medical assistance call the Department of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness at (314) 977-3000 or 9-1-1 for medical assistance.
  • The following are things you should check when you attempt to give aid to a victim of lightning:
    • Breathing - if breathing has stopped, begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
    • Heartbeat - if the heart has stopped, administer CPR.
    • Pulse - if the victim has a pulse and is breathing, look for other possible injuries.
    • Check for burns where the lightning entered and left the body.
    • Also be alert for nervous system damage, broken bones, and loss of hearing and eyesight.

Remember: Severe thunderstorms can become more violent and may lead to tornado warnings being issued - monitor weather conditions closely and be prepared to move quickly to the lowest level of your building or an interior room or hallway if a tornado siren is activated. 

Modified from FEMA information

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