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Lightning is one of the most unpredictable forces of nature. It occurs naturally as part of a thunderstorm and is dangerous. Lightning can strike as far as ten miles away from any rainfall. Whenever you hear thunder there is the danger of lightning, so consider thunder an early warning sign for lightning. If lightning can be seen or heard, the danger is already present.

Approximately 55 – 60 people are killed each year by lightning; there have already been five in 2010. While most lightning injuries or fatalities occur at the beginning of a thunderstorm, many occur after the storm has passed. Although a small percentage of lightning victims die, hundreds are permanently injured suffering life-long pain and neurological disabilities.

Here are a few other safety guidelines to remember.

· Being outdoors is the most dangerous place during a lightning storm. At the first sign of a storm, go in a completely enclosed building or a hard-top vehicle.

· Lightning can not only strike as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall, it can travel sideways for up to 10 miles.

· If you are caught outdoors, seek the lowest point and be the lowest point. Avoid open areas, tall trees, rock enclosures, and keep away from electrical equipment, poles, fences, and wiring. If in an open area, crouch down on the balls of your feet.

· Avoid being near or touching any metal.

· Stay out of water and boats. If caught in a boat, crouch down in the center of the boat away from metal hardware. Don’t stand in or near puddles of water.

· Wait at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before leaving shelter, even with blue sky and sunshine.

· When indoors, avoid contact with anything that can conduct a lightning strike such as corded phones, plumbing, metal doors, and window frames. Do not touch anything plug into a wall outlet. Do not take a shower or bath during a thunderstorm.

The safest measures to follow with lightning are awareness and prevention. Most tragedies from a thunderstorm are preventable with proper planning and precautions. Always have a safety plan. Know where you will go and how much time it will take to get there. Check the forecast and monitor the weather. If a thunderstorm is predicted, postpone activities. Remember, there is no safe place outdoors during a thunderstorm.

Mark Bello has thirty-three years experience as a trial lawyer and twelve years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life funding is needed during litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Tennessee, and Colorado Associations for Justice, a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.

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