If you hear thunder, then lightning is close enough to strike you – immediately move to safe shelter. A safe shelter is a substantial building or inside an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle. Stay in safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last clap of thunder.
Indoor Lightning Safety Tips
- Stay off corded phones, computers, and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity.
- Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths, and faucets.
- Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
- Do not lie on concrete floors, and do not lean against concrete walls.
- Cell phones and wireless devices are safe to use.
Last Resort Outdoor Risk Reduction Tips
There isn’t a single safe place outside when thunderstorms are in the area, but if you are caught outside without safe shelter anywhere nearby, the following actions may reduce your risk:
- Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks.
- Never lie flat on the ground.
- Never use a tree for shelter.
- Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter.
- Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water.
- Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines, windmills, etc.).
- Spread out – do not huddle in groups.
If Someone is Struck – Act Fast!
- Victims do not carry an electrical charge and may need immediate medical attention. Cardiac arrest is the immediate cause of death for most victims.
- Monitor the victim and begin CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) or AED (automated external defibrillator), if necessary.
- Call 911 for help.
- Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly if it is a tall, isolated object.
- Most lightning victims are in the open areas or near a tree.
- Lightning strikes the U.S. about 25 million times each year.
- Lightning can heat its path through the air to five times hotter than the surface of the sun.
Visit the NOAA and the National Weather Service for more information: