Every year, lightning kills thousands of people worldwide. To draw attention to this alarming fact, the Lightning Safety Council International established National Lightning Safety Awareness Week during June 19-25. Since the week was established in 2001, U.S. lightning fatalities have dropped from about 55 per year to less than 30. This reduction is largely due to greater awareness about the dangers of lightning and the proper steps to take when there is a thunderstorm threat.
Here are some of those tips to help ensure safety in the event that lightning strikes:
- Monitor weather conditions and get to a safe place before the weather becomes threatening. Substantial buildings and hard-topped vehicles are safe options. Rain shelters, small sheds, and open vehicles are not.
- When inside, do not touch anything that is plugged into an electrical outlet. Cell phones and cordless phones are safe. Keep away from outside doors and windows and do not lie on a garage floor.
- There is no safe place outside during a thunderstorm. Stay away from:
- Tall objects or locations (e.g., trees, power poles, light poles, rooftops and mountaintops)
- Open areas (e.g., sports fields, hiking trails, hunting areas, golf courses)
- Unprotected buildings or open structures like carports or patios
- Open vehicles like riding mowers or motorcycles
- For pet owners, always bring pets inside. Dog houses are not safe, and pets chained to trees or on metal runners are vulnerable to lightning.
- If someone is struck by lightning, call 911 immediately.
For more information about Lightning Safety Awareness Week, click here.