Did you know lighting can strike even if it’s not raining? Lightning strikes kill 55 to 60 people every year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). More than 400 people are hit by a bolt each year. But if you prepare before an outdoor event and know how to protect yourself, you can keep your family safe from lightning.

Follow these tips from NOAA:

  • Plan ahead. Just as you have an emergency plan for fires and weather events like tornadoes, form an action plan for lightning. Choose a safe shelter, and time how long it takes to get there.
  • Look to the sky. Dark skies, whipping winds, and lightning flashes are all signs that you should seek shelter.
  • Seek shelter. As soon as you hear a rumble of thunder, head for a safe place—an enclosed structure, one with plumbing and wiring is best, or a car. Open-air shelters, sheds, and covered porches are often not safe places. Avoid tall trees that stand alone, towers, and poles, as well as metal fences and other conductors of electricity. And keep out of open areas, so that you’re not the tallest object in a field.
  • Wait it out. Leaving safe shelter too quickly makes you vulnerable to lightning strikes. Wait at least 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder before you head back outdoors.
  • Avoid corded phones and appliances. If you’re indoors when a storm hits, do not use corded phones or appliances. Lightning can travel through your home’s wiring. Also, water is a great conductor of electricity, so don’t take a bath or shower.

If someone near you has been struck by lightning, call 911 immediately. A certified person should begin CPR right away if necessary—the victim will not have an electric charge and is safe to touch.

For more information on how to stay safe in a lightning storm, visit www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov .

Sources: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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