Lightning Safety

Most lightning deaths and injuries occur during common outdoor activities, including:
  • Bike riding
  • Boating
  • Fishing in a boat
  • Golfing
  • Loading a truck
  • Mountain climbing
  • Playing soccer
  • Riding a lawnmower
  • Standing under a tree
  • Swimming
  • Talking on the telephone
Most lightning casualties occur in the summer months and during the afternoon and early evening.

Safety Rules
Your chances of being struck by lightning are estimated to be 1 in 600,000, but could be reduced by following safety rules:
  • The best way is to postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are imminent.
  • If outside, move inside a sturdy building. Once inside avoid doors, windows, and metal objects. Do not shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees, or convertible automobiles. Avoid tall objects such as telephone or light poles, towers, fences, and power lines.
  • Utility lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Avoid using electrical appliances. Do not bath or shower during a thunderstorm.
  • If no sturdy building is available, get inside a hard top vehicle. Keep the windows up and do not touch metal.
  • If driving, stay in your automobile. An enclosed automobile offers reasonably good protection from lightning.
  • If you're in the woods, take shelter under shorter trees.
  • While outdoors, if your hair stands on end or your skin tingles, lightning may be about to strike. Crouch down on the balls of your feet. Put your hands over your ears and your head between your knees. This makes as small a target as possible and minimizes contact with the ground. Do not lie down flat.
The 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule
Go inside if you hear thunder less than 30 seconds after the lightning flash. Stay inside until 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.

How Far Away is it
Count the number of seconds between the flash and the thunder. Divide the number of seconds by 5 to get the distance to the lightning in miles.