In the United States, lightning is an extremely common event. Only a tiny percentage of strikes (about 300 of 25 million each year) have been shown to cause injuries, but those injuries can be severe and the number of undocumented cases is surely higher. Judging from the average number of fatalities (about 60 per year), lightning is more deadly than tornadoes, floods, or hurricanes. A particularly dramatic strike occurred at Virginia Tech on August 27, 2000, while 55,000 fans filled Lane Stadium. Fortunately, no one was hurt. Nevertheless, because lightning usually causes few casualties and relatively minor property damage, the risk may be too easily underestimated.

At the first clap of thunder, go to a large building or fully enclosed vehicle and wait 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before you go back outside. Lightning is dangerous.

With a common-sense plan, you can greatly increase your safety.

For more information on lightning, see:

Download and print the lightning safety poster

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