National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Lightning Safety Messages



Thunderstorms are in the forecast. Here are some things to keep in mind during thunderstorms.

 1.  All thunderstorms contain lightning.

 2.  If you are caught outside during a thunderstorm, do not stand near a natural lightning rod such as an isolated tree, a telephone pole, or flag pole. A safe distance from tall objects is twice the height of the object.

 3.  If you are golfing and a thunderstorm approaches, put down your clubs, get away from metal golf carts, take off your golf shoes, and stay away from isolated trees. Get inside as quickly as possible.

 4.  If your hair stands on end, lightning is about to strike you. Drop to your knees and bend forward but don't lie flat on the ground. Wet ground is a good conductor of electricity.

 5.  When lightning threatens get inside a house, large building, or all-metal vehicle.

 6.  If a thunderstorm approaches when you are outside in a forested area, take shelter under a thick growth of small trees and stay away from tall trees.

 7.  If a thunderstorm approaches when you are outside, don't be a lightning rod. It could be fatal. Don't project above the surrounding landscape. Don't stand on a hilltop, in an open field, or along a beach.

 8.  If a thunderstorm approaches when you are swimming or near water, get out of the water and away from the beach.

 9.  During an electrical storm, put down your umbrella, stay away from wire fences, clotheslines, metal pipes, metal rails, and other metallic objects.

 10. During an electrical storm, stay away from appliances, heating ducts, radiators, and plumbing. Unplug major appliances.

 11. Lightning is deadly. During an electrical storm, don't use electrical equipment such as razors, mixers, hair dryers, and laundry equipment.

 12. Lightning can be deadly, but a person apparently killed by lightning can often be revived by prompt mouth to mouth resuscitation, heart massage, or artificial respiration. If several people are struck by lightning, first treat those who appear to be dead. Those who show signs of life will probably recover on their own.