Weather Blog: Outdoor plans for Fourth of July? Lightning safety is key

By Jamie Martin, Meteorologist
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 19, 2016, 1:22 PM EDT

As we head toward the Fourth of July weekend, many of you will be making outdoor plans, so now's a good time for a refresher on lightning safety.

  • No outside place is completely safe from lightning
  • Stay in safe shelter for 30 minutes after last sound of thunder

First of all, there is no outside place that is completely safe when thunderstorms are in the area. If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.

When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter, such as a substantial building with electricity or plumbing, or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up. Stay in your safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.

While inside, stay off corded phones. You can use cellular or cordless phones. Don't touch electrical equipment such as computers, TVs or cords. You can safely use remote controls. Avoid plumbing. Do not wash your hands, take a shower or wash dishes. Stay away from windows and doors that might have small leaks around the sides to let in lightning, and stay off porches. Do not lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls.

As for your pets, bring them in with you. Dog houses are not safe shelters. Dogs that are chained to trees or on metal runners are particularly vulnerable to lightning strikes.

It is always better to not take chances with thunderstorms. You can always stay up-to-date on any storms moving into your area with our News 13+ app. You can sign up for alerts when lightning is moving toward your location.