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Staying safe in thunderstorms

Updated: Aug 16, 2020

Summer is thunderstorm season. Thunderstorms are spectacular to watch, but can also be deadly. Here are our tips on staying safe in a thunderstorm, part of our Four Seasons of Health and Safety campaign.

All thunderstorms produce lightning and are dangerous. If you hear the sound of thunder, then you are in danger from lightning. Always listen to the radio and television for the latest information and instructions for your area.


  • Keep an eye at the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of lightning, or increasing winds. Lightning often proceeds rain, so don’t wait for the rain to begin. If you hear the sound of thunder, go to a safe place immediately.

  • The best place to go is a sturdy building or a car, but make sure the windows in the car are shut.

  • If there is no shelter around you, stay away from trees. Crouch down in the open area, keeping twice as far away from a tree as far as it is tall. Put your feet together and place your hands over your ears to minimize hearing damage from thunder.

  • If you’re with a group of people stay about 15 feet from each other.

  • Stay out of water. It’s a great conductor of electricity. Swimming, wading, snorkeling and scuba diving are not safe. Also, don’t stand in puddles.

  • Avoid metal. Stay away from clotheslines, fences, and drop your backpacks if you have one, because they often have metal on them.

  • If you’re playing an outdoor activity, wait at least 30 minutes after the last observed lightning strike or thunder.


  • Avoid water. It’s a great conductor of electricity, so do not take a shower, wash your hands, wash dishes or do laundry.

  • Do not use a corded telephone. Lightning may strike exterior phone lines.

  • Do not use electric equipment like computers and appliances during a storm.

  • Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.


  • Call for help. Call 999 or send for help immediately.

  • The injured person does not carry an electrical charge, so it is okay to touch them.


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