Safety Tip

If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance of lightning. Look for shelter inside a home, large building, or a hard-topped vehicle right away. Read all of NFPA's lightning safety tips and download our free safety tip sheet.

Fires started by lightning peak in the summer months and in the late afternoon and early evening.

Facts & figures

  • During 2004-2008, departments responded to an estimated annual average of 24,600 fires started by lightning. These fires caused annual averages of 12 civilian deaths, 47 civilian injuries, and $407 million in direct property damage.
  • More than half of fires caused by lightning occur outdoors. Deaths and injuries from lightning fires is small, but the dollar loss is more than $400 million per year.
  • In 2004-2008, only 18% of reported lightning fires occurred in homes, but these accounted for 88% of the civilian deaths, 77% of the associated injuries and 70% of the property damage.

Source: NFPA's "Lightning Fires and Lightning Strikes" report by Ben Evarts, December 2010

Video: NFPA's Lisa Braxton says following some simple safety tips can greatly reduce the risk of being struck by lightning.

Updated: 7/13

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NFPA 780: Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems, 2008 Edition
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