...Outdoor Lightning Safety...

When Thunder Roars…Go Indoors!!!
June 20th to June 26th is Lightning Safety Awareness Week.
Today’s topic:

Outdoor Lightning Safety

Outdoor Lightning

The best rule of thumb concerning lightning safety is to be indoors. Be sure to recognize when storms are approaching or skies begin darkening. If thunder is heard, it is time to take action. Give yourself enough time to move inside. Do not take chances.
No place is absolutely safe from lightning, but some places are much safer than others. A large enclosed building is the safest, like a home, school, office building, or shopping center. Enclosed buildings are usually safe because of wiring and plumbing.
On the other hand, unsafe buildings would include park shelters, sheds, car ports, covered patios, tents, or baseball dugouts.
If there is no building to seek refuge in, usually a vehicle is a safe option. A safe vehicle includes any hard-topped car, SUV, bus, or tractor. Make sure that all doors and windows are closed and avoid touching any metal surfaces. If your vehicle has exterior antennas for amateur radios or cell phones, use extreme caution when using them during a thunderstorm.
Unsafe vehicles include soft-topped convertibles, motorcycles, and tractors without cabs. Bicycles are also not safe.
If you are caught outdoors with no enclosed building or vehicle to seek refuge in, avoid standing near isolated tall trees that may attract a strike. The rain will not kill you, but the nearby lightning strike could. Avoid partially enclosed buildings and any tall object. Avoid camping in an open field or near the top of hills. Stay away from metal objects, such as fences or poles.
With no safe building or vehicle available, a highway overpass might offer some protection. Try to find a ditch or low spot to get to, but any attempt to find shelter or a vehicle is much safer.
The vast majority of lightning injuries and deaths on boats occur on small boats with no cabin. Boats with cabins offer some protection, but are still not ideal. Head to shore and seek cover in a building or vehicle until the storm passes.
For additional information, please check out the NOAA webpage dedicated to lightning information and safety at: www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov

Return to News Archive

USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.