Severe Weather Preparedness Week: Lightning Safety

Most people like to get outdoors when weather gets warmer.  However, a threat lingers overhead as clouds build – lightning.

Lightning strikes the United States about 25 million times a year.  It kills 47 people in the United States each year, and hundreds more are injured.

When thunder roars, go indoors.  Why go indoors before thunderstorms are overhead?  Lightning can extend upwards of 60 miles from cloud tops.  Meaning, lightning can strike without thunderstorms overhead.

Safety tips:

  • When you hear thunder, stop ALL outdoor activies.  There is no safe place outdoors when thunderstorms are in the area.
  • Seek shelter in a building or hard-topped vehicle.
  • Don’t use items that plug into electrical outlets. Power surges from lightning can come through the cords and hurt you.
  • Water is an excellent conductor of electricity – so get out of, get off of, and get away from water!
  • Don’t lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls.  They conduct electricity.
  • Don’t stand near “lightning rods”, like tall trees in an open area, or flagpoles.
  • Stay away from open fields, hills, or the beach.
  • Anyone struck by lightning will need immediate medical attention. Call 911 and remember: lightning victims do not carry an electrical charge and are safe to touch.
  • Wait 30 minutes after the storm passes (the last time you hear thunder) to resume outdoor activities.  Again, lightning can strike from up to 60 miles away.


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