Before Lightning Strikes…
- Watch for Developing Thunderstorms: Thunderstorms are most likely to develop on spring or summer days but can occur year round. As the sun heats the air, pockets of warmer air start to rise and cumulus clouds form. Continued heating can cause these clouds to grow vertically into towering cumulus clouds, often the first sign of a developing thunderstorm.
- Keep an eye on the sky and look for darkening clouds, flashes of light, or increasing wind. Listen for the sound of thunder.
- If you hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately!
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for the latest forecasts.
When a Storm Approaches…
- Find shelter in a building or car. Keep car windows closed.
- Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Avoid using corded telephones, computers, or any electrical appliances!/li>
- Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose. Stay away from pools (indoor or outdoor), tubs, showers and other plumbing. Buy surge suppressors for key equipment. When inside, wait 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder, before going outside again.
If Caught Outside…
- If you are caught in the woods, take shelter under the shorter trees, but otherwise do not stand under trees.
- If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately!
Protect Yourself Outside…
- Go to a low-lying, open place away from trees, poles, or metal objects.
- Make sure the place you pick is not subject to flooding.
- Avoid high ground. Avoid open spaces. Avoid all metal objects. Do Not Stand Under or Nearby a Tree! Find shelter in a building or fully enclosed vehicle with windows completely shut. Be a Very Small Target!
- Squat low to the ground with your feet together. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest target possible!
- Do not lie flat on the ground…this will make you a larger target. Furthermore, lightning can move in and along the ground surface, and many victims are struck not by bolts but by this current.
Think About Pets
- Bring pets indoors. Dog houses are not lightning safe, and those chained to trees or on wire runners can easily fall prey to lightning strikes.
After the Storm Passes…
- Stay away from storm-damaged areas.
- Listen to the radio for information and instructions.
- Wait 30 minutes
If Someone is Struck by Lightning…
- People struck by lightning carry no electrical charge and can be handled safely, so please help them.
- Call for help. Get someone to dial 9-1-1 or your local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) number.
- The injured person has received an electrical shock and may be burned, both where they were struck and where the electricity left their body. Check for burns in both places. They may also suffer nerve damage.
- Cardiac arrest is the immediate cause of death for those who die. Some deaths can be prevented if the victim receives the proper first aid immediately.
- Perform CPR if the person is unresponsive or not breathing. Use an Automatic External Defibrillator if one is available. Learn First Aid and CPR
- Take a Red Cross first aid and CPR course. Call your local Red Cross chapter for class schedule.
- If you or someone that you know is recovering from a lightning strike…Visit: http://www.lightning-strike.org, a non-profit support group for lightning strike & electrical shock victims and their families. They offer information for survivors about the physical, mental and emotional challenges that often face strike and shock victims.
- Long-term injuries from a lightning strike can include memory & attention loss, chronic numbness, muscle spasms & stiffness, depression, hearing loss, and sleep disturbance.