Fact or Fiction: Lightning Can Strike Twice

Lightning can occur during any month of the year, but since July is the most active month, we thought some facts about lightning would be of interest. Though Western states rarely experience thunder storms and the accompanying lightning, they do happen, so even those west of the Rockies will benefit from this information.


One of the common questions about lightning is, “Does it strike twice?” The answer is a resounding yes! by numerous sources. In fact, the Empire State Building is struck by lightning about 25 times per year.


According to National Geographic, about 100 lightning bolts strike the Earth’s surface every second, and each bolt can contain up to one billion volts of electricity.


Most people know it’s best to go indoors when a lightning storm approaches. But are you even safe indoors?


Erie Insurance offers the following advice:


  • Heed the 30/30 rule, which is to go indoors if you hear thunder before you can count to 30 after seeing lightning. Then, stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
  • Close shutters, window blinds, shades, and curtains.
  • Unplug any electronic equipment before the storm arrives.
  • If you are not near a building, an automobile with a hard top (not a convertible) can offer some protection. Although you may be injured if lightning strikes the vehicle, you are much safer than staying outside. Rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires do not provide protection from lightning. The steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle is what gives you increased protection – if you are not touching metal.


Visit Eriesense.com to learn how to reduce your chances of being struck by lightning if you aren’t indoors, or cannot get indoors quickly.


Lightning and personal property inventories


So what does lightning have to do with personal property inventories? Fire departments respond to approximately 22,600 fires per year that were started by lightning. On average, these fires result in an annual loss of $451 million in direct property damage.


The breakdown by structure on an annual average for these disasters:


Houses  – $108 million. This shows the importance of having a record of your contents.


Storage facilities – $28 million. Many people feel their belongings are safe due to most being concrete buildings. If you have items in a storage building, do you have a list and photos prepared?


Places of assembly – $22 million. These are buildings such as restaurants and houses of worship. If you are responsible for the financials, having a full list of assets is essential to help you complete a contents insurance claim.


Commercial and retail businesses – $15 million. Offices, specialty shops, and similar buildings are at risk; could you list every item in every department of your company when the task is required?


Remember that lightning can harm you, and causes major fires that can result in a total loss. Ensure than your home and business inventories are up to date. You will be able to file your claim faster because you’ll remember what you owned. Plus, you will be able to provide proof when needed, helping you to receive an equitable insurance settlement.


For more lightning information, check out Infographic: Shocking Facts About Lightning