Thunderstorm Safety Awareness

In Arizona, lightning strikes, thunderstorm winds, hail, tornadoes, flash flooding, wildfires and extreme heat have caused an average of seven deaths, 18 injuries, and $60 million in property damage every year since 1991. Road closures, as well as power and communication outages are additional consequences of monsoon weather hazards experienced by Southern Arizonans each year.

Power and communications outages can be more widespread and last longer than a thunderstorm. Be ready for outages inside and outdoors by taking precautions and actions to minimize inconvenience and maximize safety. Protect sensitive electrical equipment by installing power protection devices that can be purchased at department, hardware or electronics stores.

Indoor Safety

  • Stay at home
  • Use a cell phone. Cordless phones do not work without electricity. Use corded phone only for emergencies.
  • Unplug sensitive electronic equipment before the storm arrives.
  • Turn off electric appliances that were on before power was lost. Leave one light on as an indicator for when power is restored.
  • If the power is out for less than two hours, do not open the refrigerator or freezer. This will help food to stay cold. For a power outage lasting longer than two hours, pack cold and frozen foods into coolers. As a general rule, perishable foods should not be held over 40 degrees for more than two hours.
  • During a thunderstorm, turn off the AC unit. Power surges from lightning can lead to costly repair bills.

Outdoor Safety

  • Stay away from downed power lines.
  • Call 911 to report downed power lines.
  • If a power line comes into contact with your vehicle, remain inside the vehicle until help arrives.

Do not attempt to get out of the vehicle. If you were to step outside, your body could become the pathway for electricity to reach the ground, causing severe bodily harm and possibly electrocution. Use a cell phone, if available, to notify emergency services of the exact location.

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