Lightning kills an average of 100 people in the United States each year. It injures many more. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Lightning can strike the ground 10 to 12 miles from the parent storm.

Keeping Safe Outdoors

The most likely places for people to be killed by lightning are ball fields, golf courses, boats, and tractors without cabs. Don't use metal objects such as fishing rods or golf clubs when lightning is threatening. Stop tractor work and dismount. If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter at least 100 yards from shore.

The steel frame of an enclosed hardtop car provides increased protection if you are not touching metal. If you are caught outside, don't sit down or lie on the ground. You make a larger target. Crouch low to the ground, with your hands on your knees and your head between them. If you are in a group, stay at least 15 feet apart. Avoid seeking shelter under a lone tree.

Keeping Safe Indoors

If you are inside, avoid talking on a corded telephone or touching electric appliances that are plugged into the wall. Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any purpose. Lightning that strikes wiring or plumbing can travel on to you.

Lightning Injuries

A person struck by lightning carries no electrical charge and can be handled safely. A person injured by lightning has received an electric shock and may be burned, both where they were struck and where the electricity left their body. If breathing has stopped, begin rescue breathing. If the heart has stopped, a trained person should give CPR. Get someone to call 9-1-1 immediately.