Lightning strikes the ground around 25 million times each year across the United States. Lightning deaths occur most frequently during the summer time months when people are outside enjoying the sun or working while the weather is good. Not only do the number of outdoor activities increase in the summer, but also the frequency of thunderstorms. The graphics below explain the different types of lightning and how you can be struck by lightning.
Statistics tell us that we are much less likely to become a lightning strike victim if we are inside a substantial structure such as a home or office building. While the majority of people who are injured or killed by lightning are outside, a small percentage of people are injured by lightning while indoors. Therefore, it is important to discuss indoor lightning
Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches
Do not touch electrical equipment or electronics plugged into the wall
Stay off corded phones and avoid plumbing
Do not lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls
Outdoors is the most dangerous place to be during a thunderstorm. Each year, nearly all people in the United States who are injured or killed by lightning were involved in an outdoor activity. They were struck while working outside, were at or participating at an outdoor sporting event, or were boating or fishing. Other examples include people struck while they were hiking, mowing the lawn or simply going to or from their car. Quite a few were on their own property when they were struck.
Unfortunately, there is no place outside that is safe from lightning. The only safe place to be when lightning is occurring is either inside a substantial building, or an enclosed automobile.
Anyone who is outside in the summer needs to understand some basic information about lightning. Each year, thunderstorms produce an estimated 20 to 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning flashes in the United States — each one of those flashes is a potential killer.
While any lightning fatality is tragic, injuries caused by lightning can be devastating to both the victim and the family. For those who have a family member or relative that suffers a significant disability from lightning, life changes forever. In addition to the physical pain and mental anguish suffered by the victim and their family, the incident may lead to a loss of income for all involved as medical expenses can drain the family’s financial resources.
If someone is struck by lightning, it is critically important that they receive the appropriate medical attention immediately. Some deaths can be prevented if the victims are attended to promptly. Lightning victims do not carry an electrical charge and are safe to handle. First, check to see that the victim is breathing and has a pulse, and start cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, if needed. Then have someone dial 911. If possible, move the victim to a safer place. Do not let the rescuers become lightning victims. Lightning can strike the same place twice.