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Texas Department of Insurance
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March 31, 2022

Staying safe when lightning strikes

In any given year, your odds of getting struck by lightning are one in 1.5 million. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? But across your lifetime, the odds don’t look that great – they go to one in 1,800. Of course, the odds of you getting hit go higher if you ignore the dangers of thunderstorms.

Heed these tips and avoid zaps from the sky:

  • If you’re outdoors and you see lightning or hear thunder, enter a sturdy building or get inside a car and close the windows.
  • Stay away from utility poles and metal fences. And get out of cars with soft tops, tractors, and motorcycles.
  • Don’t lie flat on the ground or in a ditch. Run to the nearest building or car. If your hair stands on end, squat down, and put your head between your knees.
  • If you’re indoors, stay away from windows, plugged-in appliances, computers, and power tools. And don’t take a shower or bath, wash dishes, or stand near plumbing; water pipes conduct electricity.

There are also ways to protect your house from lightning.

Homeowners can invest in a lightning protection system, which has three parts:

  1. Lightning rod: Intercepts the lightning.
  2. Down conductor: Takes energy from the lightning down the side of the building.
  3. Ground terminals or grounding rods: Takes the energy from the down conductor and puts it deep into the ground.

If you want to install a lightning protection system, hire a professional certified by the Lightning Protection Institute.

In our latest This Is TDI video, John Jensenius of the National Lightning Safety Council talks about:  

  • Common outdoor activities that put people at risk of being struck by lightning.
  • The odds of getting struck.
  • How to protect your home.

Learn more