Yellowstone County, Montana
Disaster & Emergency Services
Preparation Tips: Lightning Contact Department

The best shelter commonly available against lightning is a large, fully enclosed, substantially constructed building. "Substantially constructed" means that it has wiring and plumbing inside the walls.


Once inside, stay off the corded telephone except for emergencies. Stay away from electrical appliances, lighting and electrical sockets. Stay away from plumbing. If you cannot get to proper lightning shelter, avoid the most dangerous locations and activities.

  • Avoid higher elevations.
  • Do not stand beneath a tall tree or in an open area.
  • Avoid tall isolated objects.
  • Avoid projecting above the surrounding landscape as on a hilltop or in an open field. Move away from an open field.
  • Avoid swimming or being in a boat on open water. Move away from open water.
  • Get off and away from motorcycles, scooters, golf carts, riding lawn mowers and bicycles. Put away golf clubs.
  • Stay away from wire fences, clotheslines, metal pipes, rails, or other metallic paths that could carry lightning to you from some distance away.
  • Avoid standing in small isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas like picnic pavilions, rain shelters and bus stops.
  • If you feel you hair stand on end, this indicates that lightning is about to strike. Drop to your knees and bend forward putting your hands over your ears. Do not lie flat on the ground.
  • Lightning can strike twice in the same spot!



Create a Family Disaster Plan