The American Meteorological Society estimates that lightning kills about 100 people every year in the United States—more than hurricanes and tornadoes combined. To protect yourself during a storm, the National Lightning Safety Institute suggests waiting out the storm in a large, enclosed structure like a house, school or library. Once you're safely inside, avoid electrical appliances, lighting fixtures, electrical sockets and open windows or doorways.
If you're stuck outdoors, steer clear of open areas like beaches and golf courses, and by all means, never seek shelter under a tree, the American Meteorological Society says.
If you see someone get struck by lightning, begin CPR or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as soon as possible. Despite enduring myths, lightning strike victims don't retain an electrical charge, so you're safe.
It Happened to Me...
During the summer of 2006, high school friends Zach and Ernie set out on a hike up a Colorado mountain. They climbed the 13,000-foot peak, and as they began their descent, storm clouds rolled in. Suddenly, both boys were knocked to the ground. They'd been struck by a bolt of lightning, which struck Zach in the back of the head, traveled the length of his body, came out his left foot and then hit Ernie.
When Ernie regained consciousness a few seconds later, he realized Zach wasn't breathing and his pulse had stopped. Fearing for his friend's life, Ernie performed CPR on Zach, which jump-started his heart.