Agricultural work must often be done during varying weather conditions. Lightning fatalities rank second to flood in weather-related deaths. No place outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area.

Check the local weather forecast before starting your work. If you see threatening clouds, use the "30-30 rule". If the time delay between seeing the flash of lightning and hearing the bang of thunder is less than 30 seconds, begin moving toward a sheltered location. Lightning can strike before or after a visible storm.

In an open field, seek a low spot for shelter. Seek shelter away from hilltops, trees and utility lines. Seeking shelter in a closed building is safest. Do not use items connected to electricity or plumbing. A vehicle with the windows rolled up is the next best thing; this includes tractors with a cab.

Stay in safe shelter at least 30-minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.

Outdoor Risk Reduction Tips

If you are caught outside and a lightning storm strikes, the following actions may reduce your risk:

  • Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks.
  • Never lie flat on the ground.
  • Never shelter under an isolated tree.
  • Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water.
  • Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines, etc.).
  • Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter.

Indoor Lightning Safety

Stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity.

  • Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths and faucets.
  • Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
  • Do not lie on concrete floors, and do not lean against concrete walls.