Thunder & Lightning Safety

“When thunder roars, go indoors.”

Thunder is an immediate warning sign of dangerous conditions outside. Although rain can be a cool relief on hot days, if thunder is heard, anyone outside is in danger of being struck by lightning. Lightning kills an average of 49 people in the United States per year, and hundreds more are severely injured (National Weather Service). Afternoon thunderstorms can roll in pretty quickly around this time in Gallatin County, so it’s good to be prepared and know how to avoid dangerous situations involving lightning.

The National Weather Service reminds us to observe these safety tips:

Lightning; What You Need to Know:

  • NO PLACE outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area.
  • If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.
  • When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter: a substantial building with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up.
  • Stay in safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.

Indoor Lightning Safety:

  • Stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity.
  • Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths, and faucets.
  • Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
  • Do not lie on concrete floors, and do not lean against concrete walls.

Last Resort Outdoor Risk Reduction Tips:

If you are caught outside with no safe shelter anywhere nearby the following actions may reduce your risk:

  • Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges, or peaks
  • Never lie flat on the ground
  • Never shelter under an isolated tree
  • Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter
  • Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water
  • Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines, etc.)

Too many people wait far too long to get to a safe place when thunderstorms approach. Unfortunately, these delayed reactions lead to many of the lightning deaths and injuries in the United States. Keep these tips in mind the next time you hear a thunderstorm approaching and remember: “when thunder roars, go indoors.”


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