Homeland Security and Emergency Services

If You Are Indoors

  • Avoid contact with corded phones. Phone use is the leading cause of indoor lightning injuries in the United States. Lightning can travel long distances in both phone and electrical wires, particularly in rural areas.
  • Stay away from windows and doors and stay off porches as these can provide the path for a direct strike to enter a home.
  • Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords. If you plan to unplug any electronic equipment, do so well before the storm arrives.
  • Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes, and do not do laundry.
  • Do not lie on the concrete floor of a garage as it likely contains a wire mesh. In general, basements are a safe place to go during thunderstorms. However, avoid contact with concrete walls which may contain metal reinforcing bars.
  • Bring your pets indoors before the storm. Dog houses are not lightning-safe. Dogs that are chained to trees or chained to wire runners can easily fall victim to a lightning strike.