For many of us, with spring comes the promise of warmer weather, flowers and the return of rain showers. But unfortunately, sometimes those rain showers transform into dangerous thunder and lightning storms.

Lightning strikes can prove to be a serious hazard to both your health and home. So, when lightning flashes and thunder crashes, follow these tips to stay safe and be prepared.

Whichever way the wind blows

First, a word about thunderstorms. Thunderstorms can cause flash flooding, powerful winds greater than 50 miles per hour and tornadoes, and hail that can reach more than an inch in diameter.

This extreme weather can easily topple trees, which can do more than just destroy your home, it can injure you or your loved ones. The Red Cross recommends trimming trees and shrubs to be more wind resistant and remove any damaged branches that may come down in a storm.

Likewise, any outside animals should be given the same protection. Guard the shelters of outdoor pets and livestock against damage from falling branches or downed trees. Dog houses themselves aren’t safe against a lightning strike, according to the National Weather Service, so bring Fido inside. Your pets deserve the same safety you enjoy.

Strong winds and hail can also blow and batter around outdoor furniture. Tie it down or put it away to help make sure it stays in one piece. Likewise, shutter windows and close any outside doors.

The shocking truth

To help protect your electronics from electrical surges caused by lightning, install surge protectors throughout your home. Surge protectors can offer shielding of appliances and your home from voltage spikes, which can result in fires. It may be worth noting, that you need more protection than just a surge protector to prevent physical damage to your home or belongings from a direct lightning strike. A whole house suppressor, which absorbs the voltage spike and protects the home, would require some major remodeling, but it could be well worth it if you live in an area prone to major thunderstorms.

The National Weather Service recommends unplugging electronics and appliances before a thunderstorm hits. However, don’t unplug them while the thunderstorm is going on, as you can risk electrical shock or electrocution. Think ahead and act when you find out there is a thunderstorm watch or warning, not during the storm itself.

It’s important to stay informed. If possible listen to the local news or a weather radio for emergency announcements.

By following these steps, spring can again be the season of walks in the park, not lightning arcs.

SafeBee Top Three

1. Protect your home by trimming trees and shrubs and removing any damaged branches

2. Tie down outside furniture, close shutters, and shut doors to help protect against wind and hail

3. Unplug electronics in the home before the storm hits