Colorado is known for thunderstorms which form over the Rocky Mountains and then head across the eastern plains. Lightening is a serious threat, particularly on mountain peaks, lakes and open fields. These safety tips will help you to prepare yourself and your family.

Before Lightning Strikes

  • Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of light or increasing winds, and listen for the sound of thunder.
  • If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.
  • Listen to television and radio stations for the latest weather updates.

When a Storm Approaches

  • Find shelter in a building or car. Keep windows closed and avoid convertibles.
  • Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Unplug appliances and avoid using the telephone. Leaving electric lights on does not increase the chances of your home being struck by lightning.
  • Avoid taking a bath, shower or any running water for any other purpose.
  • Draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break due to objects blown by the wind, the shades will prevent glass from shattering into your home.

Protecting Yourself Outside

  • If you are in the woods, take shelter under shorter trees.
  • If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately.
  • Go to low-lying, open place away from trees, poles or metal objects. Make sure the place you select is not subject to flooding.
  • Be a very small target. Squat low to the ground. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them.
  • Do not lie flat on the ground; this will make you a larger target.

After the Storm Passes

  • Stay away from storm-damaged areas.
  • Listen to the radio for information and instructions.

If Someone is Struck by Lightning

  • People struck by lightning carry no electrical charges and can be handled safely.
  • Call for help. Get someone to dial 911 or your local emergency medical services.
  • A person who has received electrical shock may be burned both where they were struck and where the electricity left their body. Being struck by lightning can also cause nervous system damage, broken bones and loss of hearing and eyesight.
  • Give first aid. If breathing has stopped, begin rescue breathing. If the heart has stopped beating, a trained person should give CPR. If the person has a pulse and is breathing, look and care for other possible injuries.