Lightning Safety

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:

  1. Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks.
  2. Never lie flat on the ground.
  3. Never use a tree for shelter.
  4. Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter.
  5. Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water.
  6. Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines, windmills, etc.).
  7. 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 Facts:

  • 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:


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