Lightning can cause skin burns, severe permanent nerve damage, irregular heart beats and death. The people who are killed by lightning are often spectators or participants in sporting events.

Lightening strikes without warning, so sponsors of outdoor athletic events should have loudspeakers, sirens or horns to alert people approaching electrical storms. When an electrical storm starts, try to enter a building or your automobile as quickly as possible. Water, metal and high objects attract lightning. So get in your car, not near it, and get away from bikes, golf clubs and carts. Remove metal jewelry. Avoid high trees and open fields. It is safer to be in a forest with many trees than to be under one tree. In an open field, standing makes you the tallest object. If you cannot get to a sheltering building, go to a low spot and crouch down.

Just being near a lake, ocean or swimming pool increases your chances of being struck by lightning. Water sports such as swimming, fishing and boating increase your risk. Take the lifeguard's warnings or radio bulletins seriously, get out of the water and go to the nearest shelter.

Checked 8/9/05

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