Lightning kills about 73 people nationwide each year. In fact, lightning remains one of the most deadly weather phenomena in the United States, and it can occur almost anywhere throughout the entire year. According to the National Weather Service Web site, lightning occurring during snowstorms has even killed people. However, a few simple precautions can reduce many of the dangers posed by lightning.
First, when you first hear thunder, it is time to act to prevent being struck by lightning. Generally speaking, when you can see lightning or hear thunder, you're already at risk for lightning injury or death. If the time delay between seeing the flash of lightning and hearing the bang of thunder is less than 30 seconds, immediately seek a safer location.
If you're outside, you should avoid high places and open fields, isolated trees, gazebos, open sided picnic shelters, baseball dugouts, communication towers, flagpoles, light poles, metal or wood bleachers, metal fences, convertibles, golf carts, and water, whether a lake, pool, or river.
Inside, stay away from the telephone or computer, taking a shower, washing your hands, doing dishes, or any contact with conductive surfaces with exposure to the outside. These include metal door or window frames, electrical wiring, telephone wiring, cable TV wiring, or plumbing. People should stay away from playing computer games, too.
Many years ago my aunt was nearly struck by lightning while walking in an upstairs hallway during a severe thunderstorm. The windows at each end of the hallway were open, and a vivid bolt of lightning traveled through the hallway just as she entered a side room. The experience was frightening, to say the least.