Lightning Safety

Did you know that lightning kills more people each year than tornadoes or hurricanes?  It can strike as far as 10 miles from the storm, so if you can hear thunder, you can be struck by lightning.  Here are a few tips to help you stay safe during the storm….

– Seek shelter as soon as possible.  Avoid small shelters, such as a shed or stand-alone restrooms.  Stay away from windows, avoid touching any electrical cords, and do not use a landline phone.  Using a landline phone is the main cause of lightning-related injuries in the US.  Do not lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls. Most concrete has a wire mesh which can conduct electricity.

– If you cannot find a shelter, get into a car with a metal roof and sides.  Keep all of the windows closed, and take care not to lean against any of the metal structure.  Do not touch or lean against the windows.

– If you are caught outside, do not stand under a tree or other tall object.  Move to a lower elevation and do what you can to get as low as possible.  Avoid large open spaces where you are taller than anything else around you.  If you are caught in a lightning storm with a group of people, maintain a distance of at least 50–100 feet between each person. This will reduce the risk of lightning traveling from one person to another.  If you are hiking with a metal frame backpack, remove it as soon as you detect lightning.  Avoid long metal structures like bleachers, and distance yourself from any body of water.

The best way to avoid injury from a lightning storm is to avoid it completely.  Schedule your activities with dangerous weather in mind. Listen to the local weather forecast, and pay special attention to thunderstorm advisories and watches.  It is important to be prepared for any severe weather and seek shelter when necessary.  Understanding this information may help to save lives.