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Lightning Safety

Are you ready for a thunderstorm? Remember, lightning strikes the tallest object in any area. Many lightning fatalities or injuries occur at the beginning or end of a thunderstorm.

The following are some lightning safety rules:

Before lightning strikes...

  • Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of light, or increasing wind. Listen for the sound of thunder.
  • If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning.
  • Count seconds from the time you see lightning until you hear thunder, then divide by five. This gives you the distance in miles from the lightning to you.

    When a storm approaches...

  • Find shelter in a building or car. Keep car windows closed and avoid convertibles.
  • Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliance.

    If caught outside...

  • Go to a low-lying, open place away from trees, poles, or metal objects. Make yourself as small as possible by squatting low to the ground. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Don't lie flat on the ground, and make sure the place you pick is not subject to flash flooding.
  • If you are with a group, it is wise to separate from each other as much as possible. Do not bundle together. Lightning can travel from person to person if they are too close to each other. Separating decreases the risk of many people being struck at once, and increases the chance of leaving at least one survivor to attend to those that are struck.
  • If you are in the woods, take shelter under the shorter trees. Don't seek out a lone tree.
  • If you are boating or swimming, get to the land and find shelter immediately.
  • On the golf course, head for the club house or some nearby structure.

    If someone is struck by lightning...

  • People who have been struck by lightning carry no electrical charge and can be handled safely.
  • If they have stopped breathing, perform CPR.


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