Plan ahead. The best way to avoid injury from a lightning storm is to avoid it completely. Make your plans with dangerous weather in mind. Listen to the local weather forecast, and pay special attention to thunderstorm advisories.
- Research the local climate: in some areas you can almost guarantee a thunderstorm on summer afternoons. Schedule your activities to avoid many high-risk situations. Those hot, muggy days are just the thing that a thunderstorm needs to get going.
Watch the skies. When you’re out and about, watch the sky for signs of approaching thunderstorms, such as rain, darkening skies, or towering cumulonimbus clouds. If you can anticipate lightning before the first strike, you can avoid being caught in a bad situation.
- Note that lightning can, however, strike even in the absence of these indicators.
Calculate the distance to the lightning. If conditions permit good visibility, and it’s not practical to seek shelter whenever you notice a strike, use the 30 second rule: if the time between a lightning flash and the resulting thunder is 30 seconds or less (aka 6 miles (9.7 km) or less), get to shelter immediately.
Plan your response. If you are in an area that you expect will see lightning storms, know where safe shelters are. Communicate your plans to your group so that everyone knows what to do in an emergency.
Prepare an emergency kit. Be ready with first aid and other disaster essentials. You may lose power during a thunderstorm, so have alternative light sources available.
Install a lightning rod. If you live in a lightning-prone area, installing a lightning rod can help protect your family and your property.
- Have your lightning rod professionally installed. An incorrectly installed rod can increase the chance of a lightning strike.