There's nothing we can do to prevent severe weather, but you can take steps to prepare yourself and your family to take swift action to protect themselves, regardless of where they are when severe weather strikes.


Here's what you can do to prepare yourself and your family...

Before Lightning Strikes...

Keep an eye on the sky.  Look for darkening skies, flashes of light, or increasing wind.  Listen for the sound of thunder.
If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning.  Go to safe shelter immediately and stay there till the storm has passed.
Listen to NOAA Weather Radio (162.550 MHz in Champaign, Illinois), commercial radio, or television for the latest weather forecasts.

When a Storm Approaches...

  • Find shelter in a building or car.  Keep car windows closed and avoid convertibles.
  • 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
  • Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity.  Unplug appliances.  Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances.
  • Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.
  • Turn off the air conditioner.  Power surges from lightning can overload the compressor, resulting in a costly repair job.

If Caught Outside...

If you are in the woods, take shelter under the shorter trees. If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately!

Protecting Yourself Outside...

Go to a low-lying, open place away from trees, poles, or metal objects.  Make sure the place you pick 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.   Make yourself the smallest target possible. 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 charge and can be handled safely. Call for help.  Get someone to dial 9-1-1. The injured person has received an electrical shock and may be burned, both where they were struck and where the electricity left their body.  Check for burns in both places. Give first aid.  If breathing has stopped, begin rescue breathing.  if the heart has stopped beating, a trained person should give CPR.

Learn First Aid and CPR

Take a first aid and CPR course.  Contact your local fire department, hospital, ambulance service or Red Cross chapter for class schedules and any fees.


Information courtesy:  NOAA, FEMA, American Red Cross