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Tips For Staying Safe From Lightning

Author: Dennis Mock

Tips for staying safe from lightning

Summer storms are often turbulent affairs. With strong winds, powerful rain and heavy fog, they can present dangers to those unlucky enough to get caught outside. Although it has a reputation for rarity, lightning is another seasonal effect that could pose a serious problem. It causes more than $1 billion in damages and injures about a thousand people each year, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

However, with a few simple tips, it's easy to minimize the dangers of lightning.

Take shelter
If you can hear thunder, you should be indoors. The more substantial the structure, the better. Large buildings with a lightning protection system are best, but a closed car is a close second.

Precaution indoors
Even inside, it's best to stay alert. Keep away from open windows, toilets, showers and outlets and, unless its an emergency, don't use a landline phone.

Safety outside
If you cannot find a suitable structure, you should be especially attentive. Tingling skin and raised hair can be signs that lightning is about to strike. Crouch on the balls of your feet and stay as small as possible. However, don't lie down - the more of your body making contact with the ground, the more at risk you are.

If you are in an open landscape, find the lowest part of the ground available. Stay away from anything protruding from the ground - such as posts, trees and pipes - and keep low to the ground.

In an area filled with trees, find the collection of the shortest trees available and crouch between trunks.

Providing assistance
If someone has been struck, provide whatever help you can immediately - touching them will not put you at risk. Provide CPR if you know how and call 911 on a cell phone regardless. Move away from the struck spot toward a safer area.

In Brief

  • With a few simple tips, it's easy to minimize the dangers of lightning.

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