The basic rule-of-thumb for lightning safety is, “When thunder roars, go indoors!”
During thunderstorms, there is no safe area if you are outside. Other unsafe areas include sheds or metal barns due to their lack of sturdiness and the materials they are constructed from.
A few of the most dangerous places you can be while outside during a thunderstorm are:
- In an open field/area such as a golf course or yard
- On a small boat or sailboat
- Under/near a tree
The safest place to be is inside a sturdy building like a home or business, or if you cannot get to either of those, a car.
Checking the weather prior to outdoor activities and knowing of a safe space nearby are two of the easiest ways to prepare and protect yourself from lightning strikes. As soon as you hear thunder or see lightning, getting inside is the absolute first thing you should do.
After you are inside, avoid touching or using electrical equipment, corded phones, and plumbing. In extreme lightning storms, standing near doors and windows can also be a safety hazard.
Once the storm has passed and it has been at least 30 minutes since the last flash of lightning or last clap of thunder, you are safe to go back outside and resume outdoor activities.
In the last 20 years, since the National Lightning Safety Council was founded, lightning fatalities have decreased significantly. They dropped from nearly 60 deaths per year to less than 30! So far in 2022, there have been zero lightning fatalities. Spreading awareness and keeping yourself and others safe during thunderstorms can help to continue reducing that number!
Stay safe during Lightning Safety Awareness Week and always remember, “When thunder roars, go indoors!”