Jun 25, 2022 - Things to Do

What to do to stay safe during lightning storms in Colorado

Lightning strikes behind Coors Field during a rain delayed game in July 2019. Photo: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images
Lightning strikes behind Coors Field during a rain delayed game in July 2019. Photo: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

When venturing outdoors this summer, keep in mind this mantra from weather experts: "When thunder roars, go indoors."

What to know: It's not just a catchy saying; it's life or death. Outside, there's no safe place from lightning, the National Weather Service experts say.

  • The only safe spots are inside buildings, where lightning exposure is rare but still possible, or in an enclosed vehicle.

What to do: If you can't make it indoors, experts recommend following these tips to reduce your risk:

  • Descend from mountain ridges, peaks and elevated areas.
  • Get off of water and away from lakes, ponds and rivers.
  • Steer clear of barbed wire fences, power lines and other things that conduct electricity.

What not to do: Contrary to instinct, don't shelter under an isolated tree, and never lie flat on the ground.

What's next: If someone is struck by lightning, call 911. Check the victim for a pulse and breathing, and start CPR if necessary. If possible, move the victim to a safe location, because lightning can strike the same place twice.

Of note: Studies show that many people are fatally struck when little or no rain is falling.

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