Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family but it can also bring weather conditions that could put you in danger. By taking a few simple precautions you can ensure the health and safety of loved ones, including pets. Become familiar with local emergency procedures in your area and make a plan to stay safe this summer - no matter what the weather brings.


While lightning can be fascinating to watch, it is also extremely dangerous. In the United States, there are an estimated 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning flashes each year. Remember, if you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.

Safety Tips - Outdoors

  • Lightning can strike up to 10 miles from the rain area. Go quickly inside a completely enclosed building before the storm arrives. Do not go to a carport, open garage, covered patio or open window. A hard topped all metal vehicle also provide good protection.
  • If no shelter is available, do not take shelter under a tree. Avoid being the tallest object in the area. If only isolated trees are nearby, crouch down on the balls of your feet in the open, keeping twice as far away from a tree as it is tall.
  • Get out of the water, off the beach, and out of small boats or canoes. Avoid standing in puddles of water even if wearing rubber boots.
  • Do not use metal objects such as golf clubs, metal bats, fishing rods, or metal tools.
  • Stop tractor work and heavy construction equipment, especially when pulling metal equipment.

Safety Tips - Indoors

  • Stay inside. The best protection from lightning is a house or other substantial building. However, stay away from windows, doors, and metal pipes.
  • Do not use electric appliances during the storm. Turn off sensitive equipment such as televisions, VCR's, and computers.
  • Telephone use is the leading cause of indoor lightning injuries in the United States. Do not make a call unless it is an emergency.


When there are thunderstorms and lightning in your area, turn on your radio or TV to get the latest emergency information from local authorities.

Because tornadoes often accompany thunderstorms, pay close attention to changing weather conditions when there is a severe thunderstorm watch or warning.

Safety Tips

Your family might not be together when a thunderstorm strikes. It is important to have a plan in place. Talk about how you will reach each other.

  • Prepare an emergency kit. The below listed items should be part of your basic emergency kit and kept in a container that can be easily carried. Use the Family Safety Guide as a reference to gather additional items important to your family.
  • Water and canned or dried food - families should set aside one gallon of water per person per day, to last three days, and a three-day supply of food per person. The food should be nonperishable items that don’t need to be cooked, such as tuna and crackers. Remember to include a manual can opener. If there’s an infant in the house, include formula and baby food.
  • Battery powered radio
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries for the radio and flashlight
  • Prescription medications
  • First-aid kit

Excessive Heat

In 2012, there were 52 heat-related deaths in Missouri. During prolonged periods of high temperatures, using air conditioning - either at home or by seeking shelter in a local cooling center -- is the best preventive measure. Missourians can become familiar with the terms used to identify heat hazards and prepare in advance for extreme heat.

Safety Tips

  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.
  • Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available.
  • Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls, and other community facilities. Circulating air can cool the body by increasing the evaporation rate of perspiration. Call 211 for the nearest location of a cooling center.
  • Use exhaust fans and dehumidifiers when needed.
  • Eat light, well-balanced meals at regular intervals. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
  • Drink plenty of water. Individuals with epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, who are on fluid-restricted diets, or who have problems with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
  • Limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
  • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
  • Protect your face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat. Wear sunscreen.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
  • Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day; use the buddy system when working in extreme heat; and take frequent breaks.