Thunder and lightning


Thunder and lightning shouldn’t be taken lightly when walking outdoors. Always check the weather forecast before starting your walk. If you do find yourself in a thunder and lightning storm whilst outdoors, try to follow these safety tips.

  • If you hear thunder, see lightning or if your hair stands on end, postpone activities even if the sky looks blue and clear. Lightning will strike as far as 10 miles (15kms) away from any rainfall.
  • Lighting can strike the same place repeatedly, especially tall, pointed, isolated objects, so avoid being the tallest point.
  • Seek shelter inside a completely enclosed building or a hard-topped all-metal vehicle. Avoid fences or exposed metal sheds.
  • Abandon exposed pointed metal items like fishing rods, tools, walking sticks or rucksacks.
  • If there is no shelter you should keep moving. If you become the tallest object, crouch in the open twice as far away from the nearest pointed object as it is tall. Make yourself as small as possible, stay on your toes and keep your heels together as it will allow electricity to go up one foot, through the heels and back into the ground through the other. 
  • Avoid standing in water, even if wearing rubber boots (they offer no protection).
  • If in a group move several yards away from each other.
  • It is safe to touch someone who has been struck by lightning and provide them with CPR and First Aid.
  • The standard lightning safety guide is the 30-30 rule. The first 30 represents 30 seconds. If the time between when you see the flash and hear the thunder is 30 seconds or less, the lightning is close enough to hit you. After the last flash of lightning, wait 30 minutes (the second 30) before leaving your shelter.