Mother Nature has been showing off her frightening display of strength within a very short span of time. We’ve had to deal with thunderstorms, freakishly strong winds, and even a tornado and earthquake, just to name a few. With wild weather expected to loom over the eastern coast in the coming months and Australians warned to prepare for flash flooding, no surprises that lightning storms can happen when we least expect.
It may seem like harmless flashes from miles away, but to have lightning strike your house or building is no small matter, and everyone needs to have a safety plan for when it occurs. You might be wondering what happens when lightning strikes a house? If your home gets struck, you will hear a very loud and terrifying boom that might radiate throughout the entire house. Many houses are usually equipped with a lightning rod to guide the current through the fastest route without devastating the home, but if you are hit with a particularly powerful surge, the impact could even structurally damage the building.
The risk of fire is likely as the strike can cause other materials to combust when the current heats them to the point of ignition. These materials in your home are the gas piping, electrical appliances, and electrical wiring. This can cause everything to blow in only a matter of seconds.
Here are the steps you should take if lightning ever strikes your home:
1. Check the gutters for any damage
If you’re not one to regularly clean your gutters, this is where dirt, dead leaves and silt build up and can become a fire hazard, not just in the event of a lightning strike. You should also check your roof or individual tiles that could have been damaged by the incident. A broken or dislodged tile will leave your roof and the space below exposed to water which will lead to further problems. Depending on the severity of the damage, you might need a roof replacement and many other repairs.
2. Search for any onset of fire
Simply put, lightning can start a fire even if it isn’t immediately. With the home filled with flammable materials and electrical conductors, it won’t take much to set it alight. As soon as you are in a safe spot, you should look for any smoke or signs of a fire such as a burning smell, char marks, or an actual fire anywhere in the building. Stay sharp because fire can smoulder unspotted under other materials until it turns into flames. If you want to be extra safe, you can also call 000 to let emergency services know that your house has been struck. The fire department will assess the situation and act if necessary.
3. Check your electronics
Your electronics are the most vulnerable to lightning strikes. If hit, the current can destroy the wiring in appliances like the television, fridge, and computer. Remember, lightning does not need to hit your home directly to damage your appliances. If it hits a single line going into your home, that’s enough to put you in danger.
So, once everything’s settled and you’ve checked off the first two to-dos at the top, you should perform a few more checks such as:
– checking the circuit breakers, power outlets and light switches
– using a resistance tester to see if your wiring has been damaged
– testing your landline phones to see whether they still work
– testing the pressure in the water supply to identify any leaks
– checking other plumbing for any leaks
A lightning strike might seem like a one in a million chance, but you can never fully rule out the possibility. Having a plan will prepare you and your loved ones during this season of unpredictable weather. Damages from lightning strikes are generally covered by homeowners insurance. If you live in an area prone to lightning strikes but you’ve not yet purchased insurance for your home and belongings, this is something worth considering and should be part of your safety plan. Our team at EWIB are happy to assist you with this so give us a call or drop us an email using the contact bar below!
1800 809 132
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Important Note: All insurance policies have exclusions. Please refer to the Product Disclosure Statement or Policy Wording to decide whether an insurance policy meets your needs.