Must-Know Tips on How to Survive Thunderstorms and Lightning

Get tips here to be prepared before, during, and after thunderstorms and lightning
lightning FEMA
Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Thunderstorms and lightning tend to strike when you are least prepared. Every thunderstorm creates lightning. While lightning fatalities have decreased over the past 30 years, lightning continues to be one of the top three storm-related killers in the United States, according to FEMA.

RELATED: How to Survive Lightning Strike
RELATED: One Dead, 13 Injured After Lightning Bolt Hits Venice Beach

But it’s never too late to be prepared — here’s what you need to know when thunderstorms and lightning strikes, as FEMA recently outlined:

KNOW THE TERMS:

Severe Thunderstorm Watch – Tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, commercial radio, or television for information.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning – Issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm.

BEFORE:

  • If you hear thunder roar, go indoors!

DURING:

  • Don’t touch anything metal outside, including tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles
  • Stay away from open fields, hills, or beaches
  • Don’t lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls – they conduct electricity
  • If you feel your hair stand on end (which implies that lightning is about to strike), squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands over your ears and your head between your knees. Make yourself the smallest target possible and minimize your contact with the ground. DO NOT lie flat on the ground.

AFTER: 

  • Stay away from loose or dangling power lines
  • Stay away from areas damaged by the storm or flood water


DEBUNKING THE DANGEROUS LIGHTNING MYTH:

The myth goes that people struck by lightning carry an electrical charge and should not be touched. In fact, lightning-strike victims carry no electrical charge and should be attended to immediately.

Get more detailed information in case of lightning emergencies with from the FEMA Fact Sheet. Don’t forget to share it with your friends!