Surviving a Thunderstorm Without Shelter

If you are outside when a thunderstorm comes, the safest thing you can do is to get inside a house or a car.  But these options will not always be available to you.  Whether you are hiking, camping, or already struggling for survival while stranded in the wilderness, you will be without any meaningful safe shelter.  The following are some tips on minimizing your risk if you find yourself stuck out in a thunderstorm with no safe shelter available to you.


In a Field

If you are in a field during a thunderstorm, look for a low area, but not an area vulnerable to flash floods.  Get as low as you can, take off your backpack and crouch down with your hands covering your head and ears.

In a Forrest

If you are in a forest when caught in a thunderstorm, look for an area with shorter trees, keep as much distance from trees as you can.  Especially avoid tall lone trees.

Avoid Tents

Tents will over no protection from lightning, the poles could be struck and could cause you injury.

Positive Streamers

If you are in a thunderstorm and you experience a tingling feeling and your hair standing on end, your body might have just sent off what is called a positive streamer, a lightning strike could immediately follow.  Crouch down immediately and cover your head and ears.  Hold your breath, so as not to breath in the super-heated air that surrounds the bolt of lightning.

If in a Group

If you are in a group in a thunderstorm put about 20 feet between each person so as to reduce the chance of multiple people being struck.

If Struck

If someone in your group is unlucky enough to get struck with lightning the electricity should have traveled out of their bodies.  Check them for a pulse first, if they have no pulse perform CPR.  Next check for breathing, if they are not breathing perform mouth to mouth.  Get them proper medical treatment as soon as you can.


As always, avoiding potential danger is the safest option.  But if that is out of your control, then keep these tips in mind so that you can reduce your risks in a thunderstorm.

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