Being in a situation where you are about to be struck by lightning is extremely dangerous, and your primary goal should be to minimize the risk as much as possible. Lightning strikes can cause severe injuries or even death. Here’s what to do if you find yourself in this situation:
- Seek Shelter: The best way to avoid getting struck by lightning is to seek shelter in a sturdy, enclosed building. Avoid open structures like gazebos, picnic shelters, and small sheds. Your best bet is to find a well-constructed building with wiring and plumbing that can conduct the electrical current safely into the ground.
- Avoid Water: Water is a good conductor of electricity, so avoid swimming or bathing during a thunderstorm. Also, avoid handling water-related items like sinks, bathtubs, and faucets.
- Stay Indoors: Stay away from windows, doors, and porches. Lightning can strike buildings and follow wiring and plumbing, so it’s important to stay in the center of the building and avoid contact with electrical appliances or plumbing fixtures.
- If You Can’t Find Shelter: If you’re caught outdoors and can’t find shelter, try to get into a car. A fully enclosed metal vehicle with the windows rolled up is a much safer place to be than outdoors. Avoid touching any metal parts inside the car, including the steering wheel and gear shift.
- Avoid Tall Objects: If you can’t find shelter, stay away from tall objects like trees, light poles, flagpoles, and open fields. Lightning is more likely to strike taller objects.
- Crouch Low: If you’re caught in an open area and there’s no shelter or car available, you should crouch down low but do not lie flat on the ground. Crouching will make you a smaller target for lightning. Keep your feet close together and cover your ears to protect them from thunderclaps.
- Wait It Out: Wait at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before leaving your shelter or safe location. Lightning can strike outside the immediate storm area.
Remember that prevention is the best strategy when it comes to lightning. If you know a storm is approaching, plan to be indoors well before it arrives. Staying informed about weather conditions through a weather app or a portable weather radio can also help you avoid dangerous situations.