Lightning Safety Tips

Lightning Safety Tips

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “an average of 54 people is reported killed each year by lightning. Almost 75 percent of people killed by lightning strikes were in the outdoors, doing activities such as working, hiking, camping, or enjoying water sports during a thunderstorm.

When thunder roars, go indoors! That's advice from the National Weather Service.

Here are a few tips to remember if you are outdoors during a storm:

  • Avoid open fields, the top of ridges, or hills;
  • Stay away from water, metal fences, and telephone or power lines;
  • If you are in the backcountry or wilderness, get off the mountain as quickly (and safely) as possible. Going to the opposite side of the mountain, from where the clouds are approaching, will help;
  • Get inside a building with a roof, walls, and floors or a hard-topped vehicle as quickly as possible;
  • Do not stay underneath trees, pavilions without walls, or even in tents is NOT safe. A tent can actually become a grounding path for a cloud-to-ground lightning strike, because more modern tents are being made with carbon fiber or metal poles. Stay off porches too;
  • Wait at least 30 minutes after hearing the last thunder before you leave your shelter;
  • If a person is struck by lightning call 9-1-1 and get medical help right away. Victims can have a variety of symptoms, so be prepared to get help, administer CPR, or treat burns and trauma.

Thunder and lightning storms happen all the time, knowing what to do when they strike can save your life! 


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