As we enjoy summer with wonderful sunny days we are also likely to experience a few thunderstorms with hail and lightning.
Thunderstorms are usually accompanied by one or more of the following: thunder, lightning, strong winds, hail and rain. They usually last about 30 minutes, but may last longer in severe cases. Early thunderstorm warnings are issued by the South African Weather Service via radio, television, websites and newspapers. The building up of heavy and dark clouds is usually a sign that a storm is about to break out.
The City of Tshwane's Emergency Services Department has the following safety tips for the rainy season:
Preparing for the rainy season
● Repair all roof leaks.
● Trim back tree branches from your house.
● Check and clean roof gutters.
● Do not dump rubbish in the water drainage system.
● When building a house or dwelling, make sure it is clear of the natural watercourses in the surrounding area.
● Install a lightning conductor when you live in a thatched building.
● Have emergency numbers at hand.
Precautions to be taken upon receiving weather warnings
● Secure all loose objects outside the house or dwelling.
● Cover cars or park them in garages.
● Bring livestock and pets to shelter.
● Disconnect all electrical appliances.
● Stop all swimming.
● Listen to the radio for the latest weather updates and information.
● Have an emergency kit with torches, batteries, candles and matches ready.
● Remember that if you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance of the storm.
Precautions when you are outdoors during a storm
● Go inside a building if you can.
● Do not operate metal machinery or objects like bicycles and lawnmowers.
● Avoid hilltops and high areas.
● Avoid open spaces like sports fields.
● Keep away from isolated tall trees.
● Holding an umbrella or fishing rod is particularly dangerous if you are in an open space.
● Do not drive during a severe storm – get a safe place to park, but not close to electrical power lines, trees, streams and rivers.
● Do not swim.
● Stay clear of metal structures like fences.
Precautions when you are indoors during a storm
● Do not use electrical appliances.
● Avoid using the telephone.
● Do not shower or bath.
● Do not touch metal objects like window and door burglar proofing when looking outside.
● Do not stand in front of windows.
● When living in a metal structure, avoid touching the walls and floors.
Precautions after a thunderstorm
● Wait for 30 minutes after the last thunder is heard before attempting to go outside.
● Look out for fallen trees, branches and power lines, as well as flooded watercourses.
● Beware of slippery roads, especially after the first heavy rains after winter.
Actions to be taken when someone is struck by lightning
● One can handle victims without fear of also being shocked.
● Ensure that victims receive medical attention immediately.
● Listen and feel for breathing.
● If no breathing can be detected, do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
● Feel, listen and watch for heartbeat. If absent, perform CPR.
● Call for medical help.
Rules about rivers, dams and canals
● Flooded rivers and streams are unpredictable – even though the water surface is smooth, the water may be flowing very fast.
● If you come to a flowing river where water reaches above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.
● Never try to walk, swim or drive in swiftly flowing water; even if the water is 10 cm deep, it can sweep you off your feet.
● Never boat or paddle near a rapid or eddy and do not go beyond buoys, signs, ropes or lights that prohibit entry in certain areas of a body of water.
● Stay away from canals – undercurrents are not visible from the surface.
● Remember that rivers can have strong currents and hidden dangers beneath the surface. Some rivers have waterfalls that are hundreds of feet high.
● Watch out for rapids in white water.
● Watch out for fallen trees and branches in a river.
Report any emergency immediately to the Emergency Services Department.
012 310 6300
012 310 6400