Do you know what to do when lightning strikes? Here are 18 tips to help you stay safe

Lightning strikes the United States about 25 million times a year.

Lightning kills 20 or more people in the US every year, and hundreds more are seriously injured, according to the National Weather Service.

Here are some tips that will help you stay safe during a thunderstorm:

1. No place outside is safe when a thunderstorm is nearby.

2. When you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.

3. If you hear thunder, immediately go to a safe shelter – a large building with electricity or plumbing or a locked vehicle with metal roof and windows facing up.

4. Stay in a safe shelter for at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.


5. Stay away from landlines, computers and other electrical equipment that puts you in direct contact with electricity.

6. Avoid plumbing, including sinks, tubs, and faucets.

7. Stay away from windows and doors and stay away from porches.

8. Do not lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls.


If you are caught outside and there is no safe shelter nearby, the following actions can reduce your risk:

9. Immediately exit elevated areas such as hills, ridges or peaks.

10. Never lie flat on the floor.

11. Never hide under an isolated tree.

12. Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter.

13. Immediately go outside and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water.

14. Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fencing, power lines, windmills, etc.)


Lightning can cause many injuries, including heart attacks, burns, shock, and sometimes blunt trauma. Treat each of these injuries with first aid until help arrives. Do not move victims who appear to have bleeding or broken bones.

15. Get medical attention as soon as possible if someone is struck by lightning. If more than one person is struck by lightning, treat those who are unconscious first.

16. Safety is a priority. Be aware of the ongoing lightning hazard for both the victim and the rescuer. If the area where the victim is located is a high risk, both the victim and the rescuer could be in danger. If necessary, move the victim to a safer place.

17. Lightning often causes a heart attack. Check that the victim is breathing and has a pulse.

18. If the victim is not breathing, begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation immediately. If the victim has no heartbeat, start cardiac compressions (CPR) as well. Continue CPR until help arrives. If the area is cold and wet, placing a protective layer between the victim and the ground can help reduce hypothermia (abnormally low body temperature). What is hands-only CPR and how to perform it – Click here to learn more.

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