When there is an electrical storm, take precautions against lightning, even if the thunderstorm is not directly overhead.
- If you hear thunder, the lightning is probably within ten miles. The shorter the time elapsed between when you see lightning and hear thunder, the closer the lightning.
- Seek shelter in a house, large building, or automobile, but not a convertible.
- The best shelter is a permanent building; small buildings or sheds aren’t safe. Vehicles with metal roofs are also safe but do not touch any metal surfaces and keep all windows closed.
- Some unsafe places to be when there’s lightning include underneath canopies, small picnic or rain shelters or near trees. Standing under trees, in fact, accounts for 18 percent of lightning deaths and 13 percent of injuries.
- If lightning is very close and no building is nearby, crouch down and put your feet together. Place your hands over your ears to minimize hearing damage from thunder. Avoid being closer than 15 feet to other people.
- If you are in water, get out as quickly as possible.
- When outside during a thunderstorm avoid water. Boating, fishing, and other-related activities account for 13 percent of lightning deaths and 6 percent of injuries.
- Avoid high ground. Seek shelter in the lowest area. Also, avoid open spaces. Open spaces, fields, and ballparks account for 28 percent of lightning deaths and 29 percent of lightning injuries.
- Playing golf? Stop. Do not hold metal golf club during a thunder or lightning storm. Take off golf shoes with metal spikes.
- All metal objects including electric wires, fences, machinery, motors, and power tools should not be used.
- Stay away from utility poles and power lines.
- Stay off bicycles, farm equipment, motorcycles, and golf carts.
- If you are indoors during the thunderstorm, avoid water and stay away from doors and windows. Do not use the telephone. Take off headsets. Turn off, unplug and stay away from appliances, computers, power tools, and TV sets. Lightning may strike exterior electric and phone lines, sending shocks to inside equipment.
To stay safe, suspend the activities mentioned above for 30 minutes after the last observed lightning or thunder.