Today marks the official start of summer and the kickoff of National Lightning Safety Awareness Week. With summer ushering in an elevated threat of thunderstorm activity in most parts of the country, it’s a good idea for Americans to brush up on a few best practices for lightning safety.

1. Respect the threat.

Lightning is the weather threat that affects most people, most of the time in most regions of the U.S. It’s a fact that most lightning victims are mere steps away from lightning safety—a reminder not to be apathetic about lightning. Although approximately 90% of lightning victims survive being struck by lightning, injuries can be severe and debilitating as this video explains. It’s important to heed nature’s warning “bark.” Since no place outside is safe from lightning, be sure to practice this simple, yet life-saving safety advice: When thunder roars, go indoors!

2. Plan ahead to avoid the risk and expect the unexpected.

Remember to plan ahead for outdoor activities by checking weather forecasts and monitoring changing weather conditions. When in a group, be sure to have an agreed upon lightning plan in place and be ready to act in time to get everyone to a safe place when unexpected weather conditions warrant a quick response. If a safe place is not available, these safety tips may reduce your chances of being struck when caught outdoors.

3. Understand lightning to understand its dangers.

Learning more about the science of lightning can go a long way to helping humans understand more about how lightning impacts people, places and property. To enlighten folks about the misunderstood weather threat, fellow National Lightning Safety Council members, Daile Zhang and Ron Holle published, “So You Think You Know Lightning: A Collection of Electrifying Fast Facts!“. This fun and easy-to-read booklet is designed to help the young and old understand the basics about lightning physics, safety and detection.

4. Learn the facts to help dispel the fallacies.

Despite increased awareness about the dangers of lightning and the benefits of lightning protection systems, misunderstandings about safety measures persist. Unfortunately, repeated myths about lightning and false claims about lightning protection have put people and property at risk. The National Lightning Safety Council has a wealth of information to help separate fact from fallacy about lightning and lightning safety.

5. Protect against $ costly property loss with LPS.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), the average cost of a lightning-caused homeowners insurance claim increased 141 percent in the U.S. between 2019 and 2020 (from $11,971 to $28,885) and 168 percent from 2017 to 2020 (from $10,781 to $28,885). Thankfully, a safety standard-compliant lightning protection system (LPS) can provide an important sustainable building measure for property owners who don’t want to play the odds with the lightning risk. The payoff of having LPS installed for your home, as explained in this short video can be significant when you consider the cost of protection is typically less than 1% of a structure’s cost—not to mention the peace of mind it provides in terms of safety and security.