How To Be Safe From Lightning
UPDATED August 7, 2012
By WeatherBug Meteorologists
- Check WeatherBug for the forecast before heading out.
- Check the radar and lightning detection sections of WeatherBug to see if storms are heading towards your area.
- Storms can form overhead, so always check the sky for large cumulus clouds as these are the first sign of thunderstorms.
- If you feel like a storm is on its way it is imperative to stop your outdoor activities and move to a safe indoor area.
- Lightning can strike before the rain, so be someplace safe before the threat is upon you. To check the distances of the storm from you, use the 30-second rule. Count how many seconds from the flash till you hear thunder. If it is greater than 30 seconds, this means you are at least 6 miles away from the storm. If less than 30 seconds, this means you are in the threat area and you should take cover immediately.
- Go to a low-lying, open place away from trees, poles, or metal objects.
- If you are in the woods, take shelter under the shortest trees.
- If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately.
- Make sure the place you pick is not subject to flooding.
- Be a very small target, Squat low to the ground. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Laying flat on the ground will actually make you a larger target.
- Wait 30 minutes after the last flash of lightning was seen before it is safe to return to your activities.
- Do not use corded phones. Lightning can travel through the phone lines and electrocute you.
- Lightning can also travel through pipes. Do not take showers, bathes or do dishes while a thunderstorm is occurring.
- Have flashlight and/or candles ready. Power failures often occur during thunderstorms.
- Unplug or turn off electronics. Lightning can cause damaging power surges.
- Don`t worry, people struck by lightning carry no electrical charge and can be handled safely.
- Call for help. Get someone to dial 9-1-1 or your local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) number.
- The injured person has received an electrical shock and may be burned where they were struck and where the electricity left their body.
- Give first aid. If breathing has stopped, begin rescue breathing. If the heart has stopped beating, a trained person should give CPR.
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