Lightning Safety

Summer is the peak time of year for lightning strikes and fires caused by lightning. North Metro Fire Rescue District encourages residents to take thunderstorms seriously and to take cover when lightning is in the area. Follow these tips from the National Weather Service to keep your family safe this summer:

lightningWhen outside and a storm is approaching:

  • If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you. Lightning can strike more than 10 to 15 miles from the center of a thunderstorm, far outside the rain or thunderstorm cloud.
  • When you hear thunder, immediately seek shelter within an enclosed building or in a metal vehicle with the windows up. Stay there until 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.
  • If you can’t find safe shelter nearby, immediately get off elevated areas such as hills or mountain ridges and peaks. Keep moving until you find shelter.
  • Never lie flat on the ground.
  • Don’t shelter under an isolated tree. Being underneath a tree is the second leading cause of lightning casualties.
  • Don’t use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter.
  • Stay away from bodies of water such as ponds and lakes.
  • Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines, etc.).

Indoor lightning safety:

  • If you’re inside your home, stay off corded phones, computers and other equipment that can put you in direct contact with electricity.
  • Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths and faucets.
  • Stay away from windows, doors and outdoor patios.

When planning outdoor activities, monitor the weather reports to avoid being outside when storms are predicted. Pinpoint places where you can seek shelter if a storm approaches. Just because a storm passes doesn’t mean you are safe to go back outside. Wait at least 30 minutes after you hear the thunder to ensure that lightning is no longer in the area.

If you witness someone being struck by lightning, immediately call 911 for help. Lightning victims have a good chance of survival with timely medical treatment. If the victim has no pulse, begin giving CPR until first responders arrive to take over treatment.