Lightning Strikes – Tool Box Talks

The average bolt of lightning carries over 100,000,000 volts and can reach out over 100 miles. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), lightning is one of the leading weather-related causes of death and injury in the United States. It is estimated that the Earth id struck by lightning 100 times every second and the odds of being struck by lightning over your lifetime is 1 in 3,000. Thunderstorms and lightning are most likely to develop on hot, humid days and can be very dangerous is a person is outdoors without the proper protection.


  1. There are 5 ways in which lightning can severely injure or kill people or animals.
  2. A direct strike usually results in cardiac arrest and/or stoppage of breathing
    A side flash may occur when the body of a person provides an alternate or parallel path for the current. This means the person may be another way for the current to reach the ground. If the current passes through the head or heart, death may occur.
  3. Conducted current from a lightning flash may range from a tingling shock to a massive current diverted from a poorly grounded electric power pole through the wiring system.
  4. Step voltage radiates out through the ground from a struck tree or pole. This results in many livestock deaths every year.
  5. Fires, fallen trees, crushed cars. These are secondary effects. Injuries that occur from these are an
    indirect result of lightning.

There are several things one can do if caught outdoors when a lightning storm strikes. Take shelter inside a building or car and close the windows and doors. Get off equipment immediately. Get out of the water if you are swimming or boating and get away from it. If boating stay low and avoid contact with the water.

Do not take refuge under any tall, isolated object, such as a tree. Standing under a group of trees shorter than others in the area is better than being in the open. Avoid electric fences, clothes lines, metal pipes, rails, telephone poles and any other conductor. Put down any object that might conduct electricity, such as a rake, hoe or shovel. If you are outside with no protection get to a low spot, make your body as low to the ground as possible but do not lay flat on the earth. Curl on your side or drop to your knees and bend forward putting your hands on your knees. If there is a group of people, spread out. If someone feels there hairs stand on end, it may mean lightning is about to strike.

Stay calm and keep low.

If someone is struck by lightning, they do not contain and electrical charge. Provide first aid immediately for any injury that is visible, and be prepared to provide CPR. Immediately call 9-1-1.

Rubber-soled shoes provide absolutely no protection from lightning.

If you can hear thunder, you are within 10 miles of a storm and are within reach of lightning.

An automobile can offer protection by acting like a Faraday cage, provided that the occupants do not touch the metal of the care while inside.