MADISON, Wis. – Summer is a busy time for thunderstorms in Wisconsin, which also means an increased risk of lightning strikes for those spending time outdoors. Lightning Safety Awareness Day in Wisconsin is June 20 and ReadyWisconsin encourages everyone to learn more about what they can do to stay safe when there’s lightning nearby.
“During a thunderstorm, outside is the last place you want to be,” said Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Greg Engle. “When you see lightning or hear thunder, head inside until the danger has passed.”
According to the National Lightning Safety Council, 19 people were struck and killed by lightning in the United States in 2022 and at least four people have been killed by lightning strikes in the U.S. so far this year. While nobody was killed by a lightning strike in Wisconsin last year, two people from Janesville died after they were struck while visiting a park in Washington D.C.
Even if the sky directly overhead may be clear, lightning can travel several miles from the center of a storm. If thunder can be heard, lightning is close enough to strike nearby.
The safest place to seek shelter is inside a sturdy, enclosed structure, such as a house. Get out of open areas and stay away from bodies of water, such as lakes or rivers. Never take cover under a tree. If you are inside a vehicle, avoid touching metal surfaces.
If a person is struck by lightning, immediately dial 911 and start performing CPR. Do not be afraid to touch the victim – the human body does not hold an electrical charge.