Skip to main content

How to Survive a Lightning Storm

Lightning kills an average of 58 people per year in the United States. Make sure you and your loved ones don't become a statistic.


  • Step 1: Know the warning signs Gauge the danger: If you can hear thunder, you're within striking distance of lightning.
  • TIP: Most lightning deaths and injuries occur in the summer.
  • Step 2: Seek shelter Seek shelter in a fully enclosed building; open structures are not safe. Once inside, stay off electronics and corded phones and away from plumbing; lightning can travel through wires and plumbing. Remain indoors until 30 minutes after the thunder ends.
  • Step 3: Get to a car If there is no enclosed building nearby but you have access to a car, get inside it, roll up the windows, and stay off electronic equipment.
  • Step 4: Squat down If you're stuck in an open space, crouch down on the balls of your feet, feet together, to minimize your contact with the ground. Put your hands over your ears to protect yourself from acoustic shock, which can damage hearing. If you're with a group, leave at least 20 feet between each person to decrease the risk of more than one person getting struck.
  • Step 5: Practice water safety Don't take a boat out on the water if a thunderstorm is predicted. If a storm catches you by surprise and you can't get to land, weigh anchor, stay in the cabin, if the boat has one, or crouch as low as possible within the boat. Avoid touching metal and don't use any electronic devices.
  • Step 6: Know how to revive someone If you see someone get hit by lightning, call 911 and then evaluate their condition; you can't get electrocuted by touching them. If they're unconscious but breathing, wait for help. If they're not breathing, start CPR chest compressions and keep going until they regain consciousness or help arrives.
  • FACT: You're 30 times more likely to die from a lightning strike than from a shark attack.

You Will Need

  • Warning signs
  • Shelter
  • Emergency precautions
  • Water safety
  • First aid training

Popular Categories