Lightning Safety

There is no safe place outside during a thunderstorm. And don't be fooled by blue skies. If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to cause damage. Many deaths by lightning happen before or after a storm.

So what should you do if you are caught outside in a thunderstorm?
  • Avoid open areas. Don't be the tallest object in the area
  • Stay away from isolated tall trees, towers, or utility poles.
  • Stay away from metal conductors.
  • Spread out if you are in a group of people
If someone is struck by lightning, act fast. Many times, people think victims carry an electrical charge and that just isn't true. You should call 911 immediately and if necessary begin CPR. Some lightning deaths can be prevented if the victim gets immediate first aid.

Lightning causes an average of between 55 and 60 fatalities each year.  The deaths are most common during the summer and during the afternoon and evening. 

You can also avoid a lightning threat by staying off of your corded phone unless it is an emergency. Cell phones and cordless phones are okay to use.  Also stay away from electrical equipment and wiring.  Don't take a bath or shower during a storm.
MYTH: If it is not raining, then there is no danger from lightning.
TRUTH: Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall. This is especially true in the western United States where thunderstorms sometimes produce very little rain.

MYTH: The rubber soles of shoes or rubber tires on a car will protect you from being struck by lightning. 
TRUTH: Rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. The steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal. Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.

MYTH: People struck by lightning should not be touched because they carry an electrical charge
TRUTH: Lightning-strike victims carry no electrical charge and should be attended to immediately. Call for help and begin CPR immediately if the person is unresponsive and nor breathing.

MYTH: "Heat lightning" occurs after very hot summer days and poses no threat.
TRUTH: "Heat lightning" is a term used to describe lightning from a thunderstorm too far away for the thunder to be heard.

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