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PREVENT

When lightning strikes

Lightning is the most frequent weather hazard impacting outdoor events during the warm, summer months. Learn these lightning safety tips to keep yourself and your loved ones out of harm's way. 

Call 911 if lightning strikes and someone is injured. Be prepared to give your location and information you have about the person's injuries. 

Seek shelter when thunderstorms are in the area

If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you. 

  • When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter.
  • A safe shelter is an enclosed substantial building with electricity or plumbing, such as a home, office building, school, restaurant or a store.
  • Sheds, tents, picnic pavilions, porches and ball-field dugouts do not offer protection and may increase your danger of being struck by lightning.
  • If no substantial building is available for shelter, enclosed metal-topped vehicles offer protection from lightning. Make sure windows are closed.
  • Stay in your safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.

What to do if there is no safe shelter

If you are caught outside with no safe shelter, the following actions may reduce your risk: 

  • Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks.
  • Avoid open fields and tall objects.
  • Stay away from water, wet items and metal objects.

According to the National Weather Service, lightning strikes the United States about 25 million times a year and kills an average of 47 people. Hundreds more are severely injured in lightning-related accidents.

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