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reviewed 2/27/2019

Lightning strikes

Do you know where to take shelter?

Select a lightning bolt to get safety tips

When a thunderstorm strikes

There is no truly safe place outside during a lightning storm. But these tips may help your stay safer.

In the woods

By a single tall tree:

Not safe. If you're in a forest, stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects. Crouch down in a ball with your head tucked and your hands over your ears.

Inside a vehicle (hard-top):

Safe. Roll up all the windows. Stay inside until 30 minutes after the last thunderclap.

In a tent:

Not safe. A tent offers zero protection against lightning. If you have no other shelter, set up camp in a low area.

In the open:

Not safe. If you're stuck in the open, put space between you and any other people. Crouch in a ball so you're low, and touch the ground as little as possible.

On the water

In a boat:

Not safe. If you're stuck in a boat, stay inside the cabin—or get as low as possible if there is none. Avoid touching metal.

In the water:

Not safe. Water conducts electricity. Get to land if you're in the water and see a storm approaching.

In town

Near a metal pole:

Not safe. Metal conducts electricity. Stay away from metal poles and other metal objects.

In a gazebo:

Not safe. Open structures like porches, gazebos or picnic shelters are not safe during a lightning storm.

Inside a house (or fully enclosed building):

Safe. Stay inside until 30 minutes after the last thunderclap. Don't use corded phones or electrical equipment. Stay away from windows, doors, water and plumbing.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Weather Service

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