Reduce Your Exposure to Lightning

July 16, 2021

During the summer months, many of us will be attending picnics, baseball games and other outdoor activities. While these events can be fun and relaxing, a fast-moving thunderstorm can create a dangerous situation, especially when lightning is involved.

The best way to avoid getting struck by lightning is to reduce your exposure to the threat. No outdoor areas are safe when thunderstorms are nearby. The National Weather Service (NWS) offers these tips to help keep you and your family safe from lightning.

Reduce Your Exposure

  • Have a lightning safety plan – identify a safe place to seek shelter and ensure you have time to get there.
  • Consider postponing activities if thunderstorms are forecast for the area.
  • Monitor the weather and look for signs of developing or approaching storms, such as towering clouds, darkening skies, or flashes of lightning.
  • Stay inside until 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.

Ou​​tdoor Safety

  • Avoid open areas and stay away from isolated trees, towers, or utility poles. Lightning tends to strike taller objects.
  • Stay away from metal items like wire and fences. Metal does not attract lightning, but it can conduct electricity for long distances.
  • Seek shelter immediately if you hear thunder – even a distant rumble. Examples of safe structures include fully enclosed buildings (with wiring and plumbing) and hardtop metal vehicles with the windows closed. Sheds, picnic shelters, tents and covered porches do not offer protection from lightning.

Ind​​​oor Safety

  • Don’t use corded phones, except in an emergency. Cordless phones and cell phones are safe to use as long as they are not connected to wall outlets for charging.
  • Avoid washing dishes, taking a bath or shower, or doing the laundry during a thunderstorm. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
  • If you are driving a car, stay in the vehicle and do not touch any surfaces that could conduct electricity.
  • Remember to protect your pets. Dog houses are not safe shelters during a thunderstorm. Dogs that are chained to trees or on metal runners are particularly vulnerable to lightning strikes.

The best way to stay safe when lightning is in the area is to avoid the threat. Visit the National​ Weather Service* website for more information.

*By clicking this website’s link in this article, you are entering a website maintained by an outside party, which is entirely responsible for the site’s content.