Since lighting can strike from over 15 miles away there really is no safe place to be when you're outdoors during a thunderstorm. "When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!" - If you can hear the thunder you are within striking distance so seek shelter immediately, delayed actions have led to many of the lightning injuries and deaths.
To minimize your risk of being struck plan ahead! Consider postponing any activities if a thunderstorm is predicted or have a plan in place to get to safety quickly. Sheds, tents, soft-top vehicles, dugouts, open sided shelters, etc are not safe from lighting strikes. Hard-topped vehicles or a substantial building are the only safe places. Make sure to wait about 30 minutes after the last strike or thunder before going outdoors, as you are still at risk until then.
If someone is struck they may require immediate medical attention. Call 911, monitor the victim, and if needed start CPR. Lightning victims are safe to touch as they do not carry electrical charges.
Here are some facts about Lightning Strikes
-About 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes occur in the US each year.
-Only about 10% of those struck by lightning are killed, but the other 90% often have varying degrees of discomfort and disability, sometimes permanently.
-Vast majority of victims each year are male.
-Typical lightning flashes are about 300 million volts and 30,000 Amps compared to a household current which is 120 Volts and 15 Amps.
-Contrary to the myth lightning does strike the same place repeatedly. The Empire State Building is hit an average of 23 times a year.
-Odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are 1/1,222,000. Odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime are 1/15,300.
-Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela receives the most lightning strikes. Massive thunderstorms occur on about 150 nights per year with an average of 28 lightning strikes per minute lasting up to 10 hours at a time. That's as many as 40,000 lightning strikes in one night!
-Earth is hit by lightning an average of 1.4 billion times a year!
For More Information
Check out www.weather.gov or go to www.lightning.org for more information on how to protect yourself.