Severe Weather Safety: Lighting Storms 

by Andrew Leavitt

As a wedding planner, it's important to not only focus on creating a beautiful and memorable wedding day for your clients, but also ensure the safety of their guests. A thunderstorm can be a stunning, yet stressful, addition to a wedding ceremony, but it can also pose a serious risk to everyone in attendance. If you're planning an outdoor wedding, it's essential to be prepared for the possibility of a thunderstorm.

To ensure guest safety during a thunderstorm at a wedding, here are some tips to follow:

Stay aware and follow the potential for storms in the area surrounding the wedding. Lightning can strike more than 20 miles from the original storm cell, so it's important to stay informed about the weather forecast and have a plan in place for what to do in the event of a thunderstorm.

Seek shelter immediately. If you hear thunder, it's crucial to get inside a safe structure as soon as possible. Some safe shelter locations include buildings, cars, caves or tunnels, ditches or low-lying areas. The best way to stay safe during a thunderstorm is to get inside a building or a car as soon as possible. If you can't do that, try to find the lowest point possible and stay away from tall objects.

Avoid using electronic devices. Don't use your phone, computer, or other electronic devices during a storm, as they can conduct electricity.

Stay away from windows, doors, and metal objects. Lightning can enter a building through these conductive surfaces, so try to stay at least a few feet away from them.

Don't take a shower or bath during a storm. Water pipes can conduct electricity, so it's best to avoid contact with water during a thunderstorm.

Stay away from tall objects. Lightning is attracted to tall objects, so try to stay away from trees, towers, and utility poles.

Don't lie on the ground. If you're caught outside during a storm, try to avoid lying on the ground, as this increases your risk of being struck by lightning.

Avoid water activities. Lightning is a leading cause of death from drowning, so it's important to stay out of the water during a thunderstorm.

Wear shoes with rubber soles. Rubber is a good insulator, so wearing shoes with rubber soles can help protect you from lightning.

Avoid using metal objects. Metal objects, such as golf clubs and umbrellas, can conduct electricity, so it's best to avoid using them during a thunderstorm.

It's also essential to stay informed about the weather forecast and have a plan in place for what to do if a thunderstorm occurs. This will help you stay prepared and ensure the safety of your clients and their guests on their wedding day.

In the United States, lightning is responsible for an average of 49 deaths and 358 injuries each year. Men are more likely to be struck by lightning than women, with males accounting for about 80% of lightning fatalities. Outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping, and playing sports, increase the risk of being struck by lightning. The leading cause of death from lightning is cardiac arrest, followed by damage to the nervous system and burns. Lightning can also cause fires and damage to buildings and other structures.

If you're planning a wedding in one of the top 25 states with the most lightning strikes – Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico – it's especially

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