Outdoor FunSevere Weather Tips

Lightning Strikes: How To Stay Safe During An Electrical Storm

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By Regina

Electrical storms happen everywhere in the United States, so there is really no escaping them.


In fact, believe it or not, lightning kills 55% more Americans than tornadoes — which come in at a 41% death rate for Americans. That’s relatively high, so it behooves everyone to take electrical storms very seriously.

If you’re wondering how close an electrical storm is to you right now, check out this lightning strike map.

Here are some tips for staying safe during an electrical storm, no matter how small or far away the storm might seem…


#1 – Stay away from open fields.

Do not work or play in fields during an electrical storm, as this will increase your chances of being struck by lightning. Dugouts are also not safe because they are not enclosed and leave you open to being struck by lightning.

#2 – If you hear thunder go in an enclosed building and don’t come out until 30 minutes after you hear the last bout of thunder.

The reason you want to go to an enclosed building is that if lightning strikes the building you’re in, it will likely travel through the electrical wires in the building until it reaches the ground.

Did You Know?…
More lightning originates from the backside of a storm than the front side. So you’re more likely to be struck by lighting after a storm than before a storm — which is not what most people would think.

lightning-strikes-downtown-by-swamysk.jpg#3 – Stay off of electrical appliances during an electrical storm.

Lightning can travel through the wiring in your home and reach you if you are on the phone or using electronics during an electrical storm.

#4 – Stay away from doors, and windows during an electrical storm.

Lightning can strike them — and you — if you are nearby.

#5 – Stay away from water.

That means no baths, showers, washing dishes, running the dishwasher or washing machine. No water period. Water conducts electricity, and unless you want to draw lightning to you, you need to stay away from water. This also means if you are camping, no fishing and no swimming.

#6 – If the only shelter available is your car, make sure you aren’t touching any metal parts in your car.

Also, take off any metal items you may be wearing and put them somewhere so you aren’t touching them. Metal conducts electricity and if your car or you were to be hit by lightning, and you were touching anything metal, the lightning could hit you. Strangely, only cars that have a solid metal roof and body are really safe. If your car is mostly fiberglass or plastic, it won’t work as a shelter. Just the same, only hard-topped cars should be used as shelter during a lightning storm; convertibles with soft tops won’t work.


When an electrical storm is nearby, keeping these few things in mind will definitely help to keep you safe. While no safety measures are a complete guarantee when it comes to lightning, at least when you take these tips into account and use them, you will be reducing your chances of being another electrical storm statistic.