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Electrical storms in South Africa, particularly in Gauteng, are often frightening and lightning strikes can critically injure or kill people who don’t practise safety during the summer season when these storms are at their most prevalent.


While the safest place to be in an electrical storm is in a house or building, you still need to ensure that your home or business is protected. That’s because lightening has the ability to take out anything from an electrical appliance to a human life. 

There are three ways that lightning gains access to homes and buildings:

  1. Through the ground;
  2. By directly striking the structure;
  3. Through pipes and wires on the outside of the structure such as aluminium gutters.

Once lightning strikes, it snakes its way into your home or office through the electrical grid, phone, plumbing and receptive systems like modems, televisions and radios often destroying them in its wake.   

There’s no need to be frightened of lightning but you should still treat it with a healthy respect and ensure that you follow these safety rules during an electrical storm: 

When outdoors

  • Use the sound of thunder as a warning - A general rule of thumb is if you can hear thunder you are actually within striking distance of lightning. Immediately seek shelter inside a vehicle (not a convertible with a soft roof) or a structure such as a house, shop, restaurant or other building. Do not take cover beneath trees, bus shelters, etc. as these offer no protection and can attract lightning. You should  wait for 20-30 minutes after the  thunder has passed before you leave your place of safety
  • If you are in, on or close to water, move away from it as quickly as possible and look for safe shelter. This is critically important for those who are enjoying a swim on a hot summer’s afternoon – get out of the pool when lightening threatens.
  • If you are unable to seek safe shelter then crouch down into a ball like position with just your feet touching the ground. Don’t lie flat! The reason for this is you need to make yourself as small as possible while minimising your contact with the ground.

When indoors:

  • Immediately unplug all of your appliances and other electrical items, including computers, televisions, radios, microwaves, etc. If you are unable to unplug them, at least turn them off.
  • Do not use the telephone, computer or any other electrical equipment during an electrical storm.
  • Avoid coming into contact with plumbing and water such as bathing, washing hands, washing the dishes or even doing your laundry.
  • Keep away from all windows and doors.
  • Ensure that you have lightning protection installed in your home – check out the various options at

At the end of the day it’s your appliances and your safety that are at stake so you should think about getting a lightning protection system installed if you haven’t done so already - especially as we enter the season of summer storms.   

For a consultation with one of our reputable consultants call 011-482-9957 or visit us at