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Posted 5/26/2016

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By Christopher David
Mobile District - Tenn Tom Waterway

All too often in the event of a lightning occurrence some find themselves not knowing what to do or where to seek shelter.  Most people have a tendency to continue their outdoor activities or dash to the wrong type of shelter during a lightning occurrence. To minimize permanent injury or death related to lighting strikes consider the Do’s and Don’ts:


Always plan your evacuation and safety measures in advance. 

 ***When you first see lightning or hear thunder, activate your emergency plan

 Go indoors.

 ***“When thunder roars, go indoors.”  Buildings or hard-top vehicles with the windows rolled up are also considered safe.

 If unable to seek shelter while outdoors

 ***Crouch in a balled-up position, feet close together and your head tucked down towards your    knees.

 Maintain minimal contact with the ground. 

 ***Lightning often runs along the ground.   

 Separate individuals. 

 ***This greatly reduces the possibility of people being struck.

 Stay away from open structures.

 ***Examples; picnic sheds, gazebos and other kinds of open-air buildings.  Typically, people gather under these to stay dry.

 Stay near tall structures. 

 ***They are more likely to be struck by lightning with the energy going into the ground.


DO NOT lie on concrete pads

 *** They have iron rebar which will conduct electricity.

Don’t go to high ground.

Don‘t stand near trees.

Don’t go into the water—

 ***Get out of the lake if you are swimming or boating.

Don’t resume activities to soon

 ***Wait 30 minutes after hearing the last bit of thunder.

If you’re at the lake during a storm

If you think there are few places you should be during a storm, you are correct.     

Question - If you are at a lake, you may ask “So where should I plan to seek protection if I cannot get to an enclosed building or vehicle?” 

Answer - Look carefully at your location and find the place that is somewhat higher than the lake level, away from the tree line and lower than where the trees are.  Look for a depression.  This is going to be in the open and you will get wet BUT you aren’t going to be struck by lightning.  It will be tempting to make a mad dash for a vehicle if one comes along but that is risky.  The storm will not last forever and granted, you will get wet and cold but that is much better than a tragic outcome.