Lightning Safety 101: How to Prepare for Thunderstorm Season

National Lightning Safety Awareness Week is observed during the third week of June to warn us about the dangers of lightning and how to prepare as storm season rolls around. Everyone should understand the danger of lightning and what actions to take during a storm, outdoors and indoors.

The Hazards of Lightning

It is estimated that 1,000 people get struck by lightning in the U.S. each year. Lightning strikes account for about 20 fatalities annually and hundreds more injured, with some survivors suffering lifelong neurological damage. Being in the vicinity of a lightning strike is also dangerous. If lightning strikes an electrical pole or tree, the electric current may radiate out through the nearby ground. Lightning strikes may also start fires or cause the collapse of trees or other objects, leading to secondary damage and injuries. Lightning caused $952 Million in homeowners insurance claims in the U.S. in 2022.

Storm Safety Best Practices

In order to avoid danger or damage from thunderstorms, there are a few steps you can take to prepare:

  • Stay informed: Keep track of storm alerts, warnings and public safety information.
  • Create an action plan: Develop an emergency plan for your home and assure that you understand your employer’s emergency action plan and develop a plan for your home.
  • Prepare your home: Remove dead trees, branches and other objects from your property and clear clogged rain gutters to direct water flow away from your home. Have your home electrical system periodically checked to assure that it meets local building and electrical codes.

During a storm:

Thunder is an indicator of how close lightning is, based on how closely it follows the lightning flash. Because it is sometimes heard before a storm starts, thunder can be a warning. Here are some tips to follow for indoor and outdoor lightning safety.


Remember the 30-30 rule; after seeing lightning, if you hear thunder in less time than it takes to count to 30, go indoors. Then, stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last thunder. Even if the lightning and thunder are more than 30 seconds apart, take shelter inside a building as soon as possible, and postpone activities that are done outside.

  • Avoid plumbing and running water.
  • Stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment. Install surge protectors.
  • Stay away from windows, doors, porches and concrete.


Generally, no place outside is considered safe during a thunderstorm, but there are some things you can do to reduce risk if you are stuck.

  • Avoid open spaces, vehicles and structures such as fields, golf carts or gazebos.
  • Avoid elevated areas and any bodies of water.
  • Avoid objects that conduct electricity such as barbed wire or power lines.
  • Never lie flat on the ground.
  • Never take shelter under an isolated tree.
  • Do not stand near tall structures.
  • Do not hold onto anything metal.

Below are some resources from the National Lightning Safety Council to help you stay educated and protected:

Reach out to an Advisor

Reach out to a SISCO Risk Consultant to learn more about how to stay safe and protect your assets this storm season.