When it comes to lightning, no place is absolutely safe, however, some places are safer than others. The risk for lightning injury depends on whether the structure incorporates lightning protection, construction materials used, and the size of the structure. Large, enclosed structures tend to e safer than smaller, open structures.
It is important that you plan your evacuation and safety measures in advance. As soon as you see lightning or hear thunder, you should activate your emergency plan. Lightning often precedes rain, so don't wait for the rain to begin to suspend activities. All activities should be put off for approximately 30 minutes after the last observed lightning or thunder.
If you are outdoors, be sure to avoid water, the high ground, and open spaces. Also avoid all metal objects including electrical wires, fences, machinery, motors, power tools, etc. Unsafe places include canopies, small picnic or rain shelters, or near trees. When possible, find shelter in a substantial building or a fully enclosed metal vehicle. Cars, trucks, buses, vans, and fully enclosed farm vehicles with the windows completely shut provide good shelter from lightning.
If lightning strikes nearby and you're away from shelter, you should:
- Crouch down and put your feet together. To minimize hearing damage from thunder, you may want to cover your ears with your hands.
- Avoid proximity to other people (minimum of 15 ft.)
If you are indoors, stay away from all doors and windows. If possible, avoid telephone usage. Lightning may strike exterior electric and phone lines, inducing shocks to inside equipment. Unplug and stay away from appliances, computer, power tools, and television sets. Also, avoid water.
If someone is injured due to a lightning strike, apply First Aid procedures only if you are qualified to do so. Contact 911 and immediately send for help. Lightning victims do not carry an electrical charge and can be handled safely.