Thunderstorm Safety Guide
Where there is thunder, there is lightning. It is estimated that lightning hits the Earth
100 times each second. Lightning is five times hotter than the sun. A single bolt can reach 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit
and contain 100 million volts.
You can do a rough calculation to determine how far away a thunderstorm is from you.
1. When you see the flash, begin to count the seconds until you hear the thunder.
2. Divide this number by 5. The number you get is the approximate distance of the lightning in
1. Secure outdoor furniture that could blow away or cause damage or injury. Bring light objects
2. Close windows and shutters securely.
3. Do not handle any electrical equipment or telephones. Lightning can hit power and telephone
lines, sending electricity through the wires into your home.
4. Avoid bathtubs, water faucets, and sinks. Metal pipes can transmit electricity.
1. It is a common myth that lightning will strike the tallest object. Not true. Lightning will
strike the nearest, best conductor of electricity, and that may be you.
2. Try to get into a building or a car.
3. If you are in the woods or near trees, find an area protected by a low cluster of trees. Never
stand underneath a lone, large tree.
4. Crouch with feet together and hands on knees if in an open field during a lightning storm.
You want to minimize your exposed surface area.
5. Remove all metal objects from yourself.
6. Do not lie flat on the ground (too much surface area). Avoid tall structures, such as towers,
fences, telephone and power line polls.
7. Stay away from natural lightning rods, such as golf clubs, fishing rods, bicycles, and camping
equipment, anything that can conduct electricity (metal or water).
8. Stay away from lakes, rivers, pools and other bodies of water. Water conducts electricity.
9. Be aware that low lying areas may flood quickly.
When in a Car
1. Stay in the car. A car is about the safest place to be during a lightning storm.
2. Pull slowly onto the shoulder of the road, away from any trees or power lines that could fall
on your vehicle.
3. Turn on the emergency flashing lights until the heavy rains subside and safe visibility is
4. Avoid flooded roadways.
If someone nearby has been hit by lightning, it is safe to touch them. A person will not hold
an electrical charge and can not harm you.
1. If the person has no heartbeat and is not breathing, administer CPR and call 911.
2. When the person starts breathing again, elevate the feet and cover with a blanket to prevent
3. A person will have severe burns in two places, where the lightning entered and exited the
body. Expect to find more than one injury.