Thunderstorms and Lightning
Working on lightning safety with your family may help protect them during the next storm
Thunderstorms can occur anywhere and at any time. Lightning kills around 80 people each year and injures 500 more. That's more than the number of people killed annually by tornadoes and hurricanes combined!
Lightning can cause major damage to your property, so follow these thunderstorm safety tips to help keep your home intact:
Remove dead or rotting trees that could fall on your house if it is
struck by lightning
Know the weather before beginning any trip or adventure and plan
Put your whole house on a surge-protection system
- Unplug any appliances or electronic equipment before a thunderstorm threatens
If a thunderstorm occurs, the first thing to know is the 30/30 lightning protection rule. When you see a flash of lightning, start counting. If you don't make it to 30 before hearing the thunder, go indoors. Then, stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last boom of thunder.
If you're inside when a storm hits:
Seek shelter when you first see dark clouds or lightning or hear
Avoid contact with corded phones, electrical equipment and plumbing.
Don't wash your hands, take a shower, wash dishes or do laundry.
Stay away from windows and doors.
- Don't use your cell phone during a thunderstorm.
If you're outdoors:
Get inside a completely enclosed building immediately if one is
accessible. Don't go into a carport, open garage or covered
If you can't find a completely enclosed building, get inside a hardtop,
all-metal vehicle. Avoid leaning against vehicles. Get off bicycles and
If no shelter is available, squat low to the ground. Place your hands
on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest
Get out of water and avoid metal. They both can carry an electrical
If you're in a group of people, spread out.
Take care of your pets. Doghouses aren't lightning-safe, and lightning
can strike dogs tied to trees or other tall objects.
- If you're boating or swimming, get to shore right away.
This lightning safety information is meant to help you make decisions that may reduce your risk. Of course, we can't note every possible risk, and we can't guarantee that these tips will work for you. However, we hope that if you use some of them, you'll better protect your family and yourself.