Lightning Safety Awareness Week | News Release | Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department


By: Kendall Warner, Intern
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Public Affairs

June 24- 30 is Lightning Safety Awareness Week. With the summer storm season upon us, it is important to be aware of the dangers posed by lightning and the steps to take to avoid getting hurt.

Each second, about 100 bolts of lightning hit the earth’s surface all over the world. Lightning is very dangerous as each single bolt can carry up to one billion volts of electricity! People can be hurt by as little as 42 volts of electricity, so just imagine what one billion can do. Approximately 2,000 people worldwide are killed each year due to lightning strikes while thousands more are injured. Don’t let one of these be you!

It is important to know the steps to take to stay safe during a storm where lightning is present. Remember that it is not possible to have thunder without lightning because thunder is a direct result of lightning. So always live by the rule; when thunder roars, go indoors! Follow these simple tips to avoid being hurt by lightning or stuck in its path.

  • Hear thunder? Then lightning is close enough to strike you. When thunder roars, go indoors! Nowhere outside is safe!
  • No building close by to shelter in? Get into an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up.
  • Wait 30 minutes after the last lightning strike or thunder to go back outside.
  • Plan your day around the threat of weather to avoid being caught outside when storms hit. Storms typically hit in the late afternoon and evening during the summer but always check the weather for the area you will be in!
  • Avoid contact with water during a thunderstorm. Electric currents from lightning can travel quickly through water.
  • Stay away from concrete floors and walls. Lightning can travel through any metal bars in the concrete.

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