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By Bialke Agency

Staying Safe During Thunderstorms: A Guide from Your Local Insurance Broker

As a Minnesota insurance provider, we help protect our clients and their property from unexpected events. We do this in a variety of ways including helping them select the best comprehensive insurance solutions for their situation and understand their selected coverage benefits and limitations.

With National Lightning Awareness Week approaching, it’s also essential to understand the dangers of severe thunderstorms and how to stay safe during these powerful weather events.

Lightning is a powerful and unpredictable force of nature that can cause serious harm to people and property.

According to the National Weather Service, lightning strikes the United States about 25 million times each year, causing numerous injuries, fatalities, and tens of thousands in property damage. Although Minnesota sees statistically fewer fatalities and property damage due to lightning than other states (like Texas or Florida), tragedy is possible. Homeowners of a Minnetonka townhome learned this costly lesson last year when an early morning storm was thought to have caused a fire to their townhome. No one was injured by the damage was extensive.

This is why taking precautions and following safety guidelines during thunderstorms is crucial. Here are five severe thunderstorm safety tips to help protect your family and property:

(1) Stay Indoors: When you hear thunder or see lightning, immediately seek shelter in a substantial building or a hard-topped, fully enclosed vehicle. Avoid open areas, tall, isolated objects, and bodies of water.

(2) Unplug Electrical Appliances: Unplug televisions, computers, and other electrical equipment to protect them from power surges caused by lightning strikes. Avoid using corded phones, as lightning can travel through the wires.

(3) Avoid Water: Stay away from water sources, such as pools, lakes, and bathtubs, as water is an excellent conductor of electricity and can increase the risk of being struck by lightning.

(4) Seek Shelter in a Vehicle: If you’re caught outside during a thunderstorm and cannot reach a building, seek shelter in a hard-topped, fully enclosed vehicle. Avoid convertibles or open-air vehicles, as they do not provide adequate protection.

(5) Wait for the All-Clear: After a thunderstorm has passed, wait at least 30 minutes before going outside, as lightning can strike even after the storm has ended.

Property Preparedness and Damage Response

In addition to personal safety, it’s essential to protect property from lightning strikes. Consider installing lightning protection systems, surge protectors, and grounding systems to minimize the risk of damage.

If lightning damages your home or car, it’s crucial to act quickly and follow the proper steps to ensure your safety and minimize further damage.

What to Do If Your Home Is Damaged by Lightning?

If your home is struck by lightning, follow these steps:

(1) Evacuate Immediately: If a fire or structural damage occurs, evacuate the premises immediately and call 911.

(2) Assess the Damage: Once it’s safe to do so, assess the damage to your home. Look for signs of fire, electrical issues, and structural damage.
Contact Your Insurance Provider: Notify your insurance provider as soon as possible. They will guide you through the claims process and provide assistance.

(3) Document the Damage: Take photos and videos of the damage to support your insurance claim.

(4) Seek Professional Help: If there is significant damage, seek the assistance of professionals, such as electricians, contractors, and restoration companies, to ensure the safety and proper repair of your home.

Remember, at Bialke Insurance, we’re here to help you navigate these challenging situations. Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to providing you with the support and guidance you need during times of crisis.

If you have any questions or concerns about protecting your property from severe weather events or need assistance with your insurance coverage, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

We’re here to help you stay safe and secure, no matter what Mother Nature brings. Visit BialkeInsurance.com/contact or call our office to schedule a free insurance policy review.

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Licensed Sales Professional

Thomas Allen

Thomas graduated from Winona State University with the intention of pursuing a career in insurance.

That decision was based on a passion to be a part of an industry that helps people in their time of need. He wants to be able to provide peace of mind so the clients he serves can live their lives worry-free.

In his free time, Thomas likes to watch college football, play guitar, and golf, and attend concerts with friends. He also enjoys just hanging out with his two puppies — Mauser and Jojo.