Thunder Storm Safety

You’re out camping, backpacking, or canoeing on a beautiful day and out of nowhere the sky is black and you are caught right in the middle of a huge thunder storm. How do you stay safe?

  • Seek out shelter if possible.
  • If out on the lake get off the water and onto shore as quickly as possible.
  • Avoid being the tallest object.
  • Don’t put your tent by or stand by tall lone trees, rocky outcrops or other tall objects. They are prefect targets for lightning.
  • Ditch your backpack, cooking kit, fishing poles, any electronic device (this includes your weather radio) and tent. Although most tents no longer have metal poles they still an unsafe place to be during a storm.
  • If you are in the forest stand under small trees that are surrounded by taller trees. This can offer you some protection. The lightning is more likely to strike the tall trees over the short trees or you.
  • NEVER lay flat on the ground, if you get struck by lightning this would be a great way to stop your heart. Instead stay in a crouched position sitting on your heels with your head between your knees. Minimize the amount of contact you have with the ground.
  • Stay 50 feet away from each person to avoid having group injuries.
  • If you are in an open field try to find the lowest point possible, ravine or depression would be a good place to take cover in.
  • Having proper rain gear can save your life. Hypothermia is a risk during the high winds and cold rain a storm can produce.
  • Stay away from all metal objects such as flag poles and fences.
  • Do not continue to hike until 30 minutes have passed since the last rumble of thunder or flash of lightning.

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