Lightning can be fun to watch but it is also very dangerous.
Approximately 300 people are injured by lightning each year, and about 62 people are killed. On average there is about one death caused by lightning in Wisconsin annually.
While your chances of getting hit by lightning are only about 1 in a million in a given year, it is good to keep some safety tips in mind.
Lightning generates thunder so remember the saying: “When thunder roars, go indoors.” If you are outside and hear thunder, you are at risk and should seek shelter in a large building or enclosed vehicle. You are not safe anywhere outdoors. A house is a completely safe place to be during a lightning storm but stay away from anything that conducts electricity like plumbing, metal doors and TV cables.
If you are caught outside during a storm, you should run to a building or hard-topped vehicle — not a convertible. Most cars are a safe place to be, but not because of the rubber tires. It is the metal roof and metal sides that protect you, not the tires. If lightning were to strike the car, the energy would go through the metal frame into the ground. So don’t lean on the doors.
If caught outside with no access to buildings or cars, there is little you can do to substantially reduce your risk of getting struck. You should avoid open fields and ridge tops, stay away from tall isolated trees, and, if in a group, spread out. If someone in your group were to get struck, they are not electrified. If you touch them, you will not be electrocuted as the body does not store electricity. You should see if they need resuscitation like CPR.
Wisconsin gets hit by lightning about 300,000 times a year, mostly during the spring and summer. That’s about five flashes for each square mile in the state.
Don’t take chances with lightning. Stay safe by having a safety plan.