Lightning Safety Tips

Did you know?

  • Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles from any rainfall.
  • Thunderstorm activity is greatest during July and August.
  • These simple precautions can save lives during a lightning storm.

    Stay Alert

    • Monitor local weather conditions regularly with a special weather radio or AM/FM radio. Many smart phone weather apps are available to monitor weather conditions on-the-go.
    • Recognize the signs of an oncoming thunder and lightning storm – towering clouds with a “cauliflower” shape, dark skies and distant rumbles of thunder or flashes of lightning. Do not wait for lightning to strike nearby before taking cover.

    Seek Shelter

    • Look for a large, enclosed building when a thunder or lightning storm threatens. That’s the best choice.
    • lf you are in a car and it has a hard top, stay inside and keep the windows rolled up.
    • Avoid small sheds and lean-tos or partial shelters, like pavilions.
    • Stay at least a few feet away from open windows, sinks, toilets, tubs, showers, electric boxes and outlets, and appliances. Lightning can flow through these systems and “jump” to a person.
    • Do not shower or take a bath during a thunder or lightning storm.
    • Avoid using landlines, except in an emergency. If lightning hits the telephone lines, it could flow to the phone. Cell or cordless phones, not connected to the building’s wiring, are safe to use.

    If You are Caught Outside

    • If you absolutely cannot get to safety, you can reduce the threat of being struck by lightning with the following tips. Remember, this is a last resort. You are NOT safe outside.
    • Avoid open fields, the top of a hill or a ridge top.
    • Stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects. If you are in a forest, stay near a lower stand of trees.
    • If you are in a group, spread out to avoid the electric current traveling between group members, if lightning strikes.
    • If you are camping in an open area, set up camp in a valley, ravine or other low area. Remember, a tent offers NO protection from lighting.
    • Stay away from water, wet items, such as ropes, and metal objects, such as fences and poles. Water and metal do not attract lightning but they are excellent conductors of electricity. The current from a lightning flash will easily travel for long distances through water and metal.

    Helping Someone Who is Struck by Lightning

    When someone is struck by lightning, get emergency medical help as soon as possible. If more than one person is struck by lightning, treat those who are unconscious first. They are at greatest risk of dying. A person struck by lightning may appear dead, with no pulse or breath. Often the person can be revived with cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). There is no danger to anyone helping a person who has been struck by lightning – no electric charge remains. CPR should be attempted immediately.

    Treat those who are injured but conscious next. Common injuries from being struck by lightning are burns, wounds and fractures.