Lightning is especially dangerous because it often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 20 miles away from the storm itself. It often catches people off guard because it can strike even if the storm is small, or when storm conditions are not extreme or severe. Lightning causes more deaths than the combined amount of tornadoes and hurricanes each year. 30/30 Safety Rule If you cannot count to 30 after seeing a lightning strike before you hear the thunder, go indoors. Stay inside for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder. Lightning safety: If you are swimming or boating get to land and find shelter immediately! If you feel your skin tingle or your hair stand on end, it means that you may be a lightning target. Crouch low on the balls of your feet and try not to touch the ground with your knees or hands. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest target possible and minimize your contact with the ground. Do not take a bath or shower. Water is an electrical conductor. Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Unplug appliances that are not necessary for obtaining weather information. Avoid using electrical appliances. Stay off of the phone because telephone use during thunderstorms is the leading cause of indoor lightning injuries in the United States. Turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressors. If you are outside, the interior of a car, truck or bus is relatively safe from lightning. To be safe, do not touch metal on the inside of the vehicle. The outside bed of a truck is a deadly location. Do not lean against a car or truck — get inside the vehicle quickly. If you are outdoors with no shelter available, stay low. Move away from hills and high places, and avoid tall, isolated trees. Do not touch metal objects, such as tennis rackets, baseball bats or golf clubs. Do not ride bicycles, or lean against fences or metal sheds. Flash Flood Safety Emergency Management Home