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The next time you see or hear a thunderstorm, you might want to take a moment to review what you know about lightning safety. Strikes are most common during the summer thunderstorm season, but they can happen at any time of the year. And, a lot of less-than-accurate ideas about lightning have found a place in the popular imagination over the years. Here’s a look at current knowledge.

Indoor Safety

  • The safest place to be during a storm is typically indoors, but it is important to avoid anything that conducts electricity – metal, landline phones, appliances, wires, TV cables and plumbing.
  • Automobiles can be safe havens thanks to the metal frame that diverts the electrical charge. Don’t lean on the doors during a storm, though.

Outdoor Safety

  • Don’t look for shelter under a tree. If lightning hits its branches, a “ground charge” could spread out in all directions.
  • Don’t lie flat on the ground. This makes you even more vulnerable to a ground charge.
  • Don’t crouch down. Once recommended, the “lightning crouch” has been discredited – it’s not likely any safer than standing if you’re outside during a storm. Instead, get inside or into a car.

Where Strikes Will Happen

  • Contrary to folk wisdom, lightning does indeed strike twice in the same place. The best example is New York City’s Empire State Building. It was once a lightning laboratory due to being struck scores of times every year.
  • Lightning doesn’t only strike the tallest objects. Although tall, pointy, isolated objects are often hit, lightning has been known to hit the ground instead of buildings and parking lots instead of telephone poles.
  • The presence of metal doesn’t affect where and if lightning will strike. Neither mountains nor trees contain metal, and both get struck. However, metal is a conductor of electricity, so avoid it during any storm.
  • Strikes don’t just happen in areas where rain is falling. Even if you’re miles away from a thunderstorm, lightning can still occur.

Finally, it’s important to remember that you won’t be electrocuted if you touch someone who has been struck – the human body doesn’t store electricity. So, by all means, give a lightning strike victim first aid. You might just save a life.

Consider our agency when renewing your personal home, auto, boat, motorcycle, umbrella or business insurance.  With more than 62 years in business we are able to provide great service, pricing and convenience with the many fine insurance carriers we represent.

Contact one of our agents at the Sheaner Insurance agency for a quote or to help with your risk management plan.

June 30th, 2016

Posted In: Articles

3 Important Things to Know About Fire Extinguishers

Whether your Texas home is a three-story Tudor, a skyline-grazing apartment or an RV on wheels, you need at least one fire extinguisher for it. But if you don’t have the right one, or you haven’t checked it recently, you may have a false sense of security rather than a fire-fighting device. There are a few important things to know about fire extinguishers, but they aren’t complicated. Here are three things to help you get up to speed:

  1. There are extinguishers for each type of fire. Class A: ordinary combustibles, such as wood; Class B: flammable liquids or gasses, such as gasoline or propane; Class C: energized electrical equipment like appliances; Class D: combustible metals; and Class K: cooking oils and greases. An extinguisher that isn’t rated for the fire you’re trying to fight likely won’t help.
  2. Multipurpose extinguishers are widely available. Typically rated for Class A, B and C fires, they are good for most living areas and also work on small grease fires. You need at least one for each level of your home, and one in the garage is a good idea, too. Store them in an accessible area and inspect them regularly for rust and other damage. Also follow any maintenance instructions included with the device. Some need to be shaken regularly, for example.
  3. Remember “P.A.S.S.” when you use your extinguisher. Pull the pin. Aim the nozzle at the fire’s base. Squeeze the lever. Sweep the nozzle back and forth. And always keep your back to an exit when fighting a fire. You need to be able to escape quickly if necessary.

Even more important than knowing how to use your fire extinguisher is knowing when not to use it. If you’d be putting yourself at risk trying to fight a fire, leave the area immediately. You should already have a family fire escape plan in place, so don’t hesitate to use it if there’s any question about your safety.

After all, your life is irreplaceable. Your insurance, however, can help you rebuild your home and replace your belongings. If you’d like to check up on your coverage, give us a call today.

June 14th, 2016

Posted In: Personal Insurance