When thunder roars, go indoors is the number one safety rule when it comes to thunderstorms.  Summer months can see an increase in the frequency of thunder and lightning, making lightning awareness all the more important. 

The week of June 13th-19th, 2016 is lightning awareness week in Canada.  The week looks to spread awareness that lightning injuries can be avoided, if proper action is taken

Getting struck by lightning is thought of as being an extremely rare occurrence but each year approximately 10 Canadians are killed and another 150 injured by lightning strikes.  The majority of injuries aren't actually from being hit directly by lightning but from ground currents and side flash events.

The most important rule is to remember to take shelter immediately when hearing thunder.  Obviously taking shelter in a home, or building is the best place but cars are also an acceptable alternative (except convertibles).  Avoid being in the highest point of an open area.  Experts warn against staying outside especially standing under trees, as a tree is very likely to be struck by lightning, and completely avoid water as electricity can travel quickly across water surfaces.  Stay away from objects that can conduct electricity like metal fences, lawnmowers, bicycles, and golf clubs.

During thunderstorms avoiding appliances, doors, windows and anything that could conduct electricity is advisable. Remaining in a safe location is recommended until 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder is heard.  A good portion of lightning strikes that cause injuries happen when a storm is approaching or has just passed by.

Canada also has a lightning danger map that shows up to date warnings of where lightning strikes are most likely.  To view the map go to http://weather.gc.ca/lightning/index_e.html

The Canadian Lightning Danger Maps are updated every 10 minutes and can be accessed by mobile phone.