- If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to a safe shelter immediately! Move to a sturdy building or car. Do not take shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees, or in convertible automobiles.
- If lightning is occurring and a sturdy shelter is not available, get inside a hard-top automobile and keep windows up.
- Get out of boats and away from water.
- Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Unplug appliances is not necessary for obtaining weather information. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. Use phones only in an emergency.
- Do not take a bath or shower.
- Turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressors.
If Caught Outdoors and No Shelter Is Nearby
- Find a low spot away from trees, fences, and poles. Make sure the place you pick is not subject to flooding. If you are in the woods, take shelter under the shorter trees.
- If you feel your skin tingle or your hair stand on end, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest target possible, and minimize your contact with the ground.
- If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately!
Lightning Myths and Facts
- Myth: If it is not raining, then there is no danger from lightning.
- Fact: Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall.
- Myth: The rubber soles of shoes or rubber tires on a car will protect you from being struck by lightning.
- Fact: Rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal. Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
- Myth: People struck by lightning carry an electrical charge and should not be touched.
- Fact: Lightning-strike victims carry no electrical charge and should be attended to immediately. Contact your local American Red Cross chapter for information on CPR and first aid classes.
- Myth: "Heat lightning" occurs after very hot summer days and poses no threat.
- Fact: What is referred to as "heat lightning" is actually lightning from a thunderstorm too far away for thunder to be heard. However, the storm may be moving in your direction!