ohio flag An official government website.
gov domain icon
Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

https icon
A lock or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Lightning Safety Awareness Week June 18-24


For Immediate Release: June 16, 2023


Lightning Safety Awareness Week June 18-24


COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA), National Weather Service (NWS), and the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness (OCSWA) are promoting June 18-24 as National Lightning Safety Awareness Week and encourage all Ohioans to know what to do before, during, and after a thunderstorm, and to practice severe weather safety and preparedness throughout the summer. 

Lightning is one of the leading causes of injury and death from weather-related hazards. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms.

“Lightning can be fascinating to watch but can kill in an instant,” said Ohio EMA Executive Director Sima Merick. “In 2022, an Ohio resident was struck and killed by lightning while working on his vehicle. Be aware of your surroundings and go indoors when severe weather is approaching.”

Ohio EMA, the five Ohio NWS Forecast Offices, and the OCSWA encourage Ohioans to be safe this summer, and to have an emergency plan for not only severe thunderstorms, but for all weather hazards. Are you ready for thunder and lightning storms?

The following information can help keep you and your family safe from the storm:

  • Be weather aware. If the weather forecast calls for thunderstorms, consider postponing your trip or outdoor activity.
  • Know the difference between a Thunderstorm Watch (Be Prepared) and a Thunderstorm Warning (Take Action!)
  • When thunder roars, go indoors!” Stop outdoor activities and seek a safe, enclosed shelter immediately. This includes all water activities.
  • Suspend outdoor activities for at least 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
  • If shelter from the storm is not available, crouch down low, with as little of your body touching the ground as possible. Lightning can cause electric currents along the top of the ground that can be deadly up to, and exceeding, 100 feet away.

Prepare Before the Storm

  • Know your area’s risk for lightning. Spring and summer are typical seasons for thunderstorms, though they can occur year-round and at any hour.
  • Sign up for your local emergency notification system or download a weather app. The Emergency Alert System and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  • Consider buying surge protectors, lightning rods, or a lightning protection system to protect your home, appliances, and electronic devices.

Survive During the Storm

 If a thunderstorm warning has been issued for your area or you hear thunder, go inside immediately.

  • Get out and away from bodies of water. If boating, fishing, or swimming, get to land and find a sturdy, grounded shelter or vehicle immediately.
  • If indoors, avoid running water or using landline phones. Electricity can travel through plumbing and telephone lines.
  • Protect your property. Unplug appliances and other electric devices.

Be Safe After the Storm

  • Watch for fallen power lines or broken tree limbs. Report hazards immediately.
  • If power outages occur, report them to your utility provider. Don’t wait for a neighbor to report the outage.
  • If using alternate power sources like a generator, always follow the manufacturer’s directions.


Follow OCSWA on Facebook and Twitter during National Lightning Safety Awareness Week for additional severe weather awareness safety and preparedness information.

Since 1978, the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness (OCSWA) has been dedicated in educating Ohioans about the natural disasters that typically affect the state and encourage Ohio residents to plan and prepare for severe weather incidents before they happen.

For additional information, contact:

Sandy Mackey, Ohio Emergency Management Agency