Lightning Safety Tips for the Outdoors

This National Lightning Safety Awareness Week, it’s important to be aware of the dangers posed by thunderstorms. While most lightning strikes occur during the late afternoon or early evening, thunderstorms can happen at any time of day, so it’s important to be prepared. 

Tips to help you stay safe during a thunderstorm

Thunderstorms can occur at any time of year, but they are most common in the spring and summer months. While thunderstorms can be spectacular to watch, they can also be dangerous. Wind speeds can reach over 60 mph, and hail stones can be as large as golf balls. Lightning strikes are also a major concern during thunderstorms, as they can cause fires and power outages. Here are some tips to help you stay safe during a thunderstorm:

  • Take shelter in a sturdy building or vehicle as soon as you hear thunder. Don’t wait until you see lightning – if you can hear thunder, you’re close enough to be struck by lightning.
  • Avoid contact with metal objects, including fences, power lines, and pipes. Lightning can travel through metal, so touching anything that conducts electricity is extremely dangerous.
  • If you’re caught outside with no shelter, avoid open fields and standing bodies of water. Instead, crouch down in a ditch or low-lying area. Make sure you’re not touching any metal objects and keep your head low to reduce your risk of being struck by lightning.
  • If you feel your hair standing on end or your skin tingling, that means lightning is about to strike. Immediately get into a crouching position and make sure you’re not touching any metal objects.
  • Once the storm has passed, be careful of downed power lines and flooded roads. Stay away from any downed lines and report them to the authorities. Avoid driving through flooded roads – just a few inches of water can cause your vehicle to lose control.
  • Additional lightning safety tips in dangerous areas or situations: If you are in a car, stay inside and don’t touch anything metal. If you are swimming, get out of the water immediately. If you are in a boat, head for shore and anchor. If you are on a golf course, get off the green and into a building or car. If you are in a forest, find an area clear of trees. If you are climbing a hill, lightning tends to strike the higher ground first, so keep moving to lower ground.

Following these safety tips can help you avoid being struck by lightning or injured during a thunderstorm. Remember, if you can hear thunder, you’re close enough to be struck by lightning – so take shelter immediately. Stay safe this storm season!