Contrary to popular belief, lightning can strike the same place repeatedly. Fortunately, you don't have to know what's fact and what's fiction about lightning to stay safe when the sky lights up.         Ideally, you want to stay indoors and avoid using electrical appliances, but there are situations where you may need to take other steps to stay safe.

   No place outside is safe when lightning strikes even if you're on a flat, open surface. Seek the nearest possible shelter, which could be anything with a roof or enclosed area such as a car. Anything that's exposed to the elements in some way should be avoided, including baseball dugouts, gazebos, bus shelters and picnic pavilions. Stay in place in your shelter for at least 30 minutes after last hearing thunder since there may be a temporary break in a storm.

   Get to safe spot as soon as you hear thunder instead of waiting until you first see a spark of lightning. If there isn't indoor shelter in the immediate area, get off elevated areas quickly and stay away from nearby bodies of water or anything that may conduct electricity such as power lines and metal fences. It's a myth that it's safe to stand under a tree. In reality, the height of trees makes them prime targets for a strike.

   Never lie flat on the ground or huddle in a group for safety. Lightning can strike anywhere outdoors, and any exposed area is vulnerable. Electric currents from a lightning strike that hits the ground can travel more than a 100 feet in any direction. If you have nowhere safe to go, crouch down with your feet and knees together and tuck your head down with your hands placed over your ears so you're at the lowest possible point while still minimizing contact with the ground.

   When a storm occurs while you're indoors, stay away from windows and doors and avoid the temptation to watch the storm from your porch. Immediately stop using any electrical devices or anything that may conduct electricity, including corded phones. Computers and television sets should be turned off and unplugged if not grounded. Avoid anything in your home with water, especially bathtubs and showers. If you go to the basement, don't lean against concrete walls.

   The best way to avoid being struck by lightning is to be aware of your local weather forecast. If there's a good chance of thunderstorms, postpone planned activities or move everything indoors. Mobile weather apps like those available from the National Weather Service and many local television stations allow you to instantly check on conditions. Some states also send text alerts when a storm is headed toward your area.

   Staying safe extends to knowing what to do if you are either directly or indirectly hit. If you are struck by lightning, seek medical attention right away even if it appears you weren't affected. Some people experience symptoms, like headaches, dizziness and nausea, or delayed reactions such as memory slowness or balance problems.

hen a storm occurs while you're indoors, stay away from windows and doors and avoid the temptation to watch the storm from your porch. Immediately stop using any electrical devices or anything that may conduct electricity, including corded phones. Computers and television sets should be turned off and unplugged if not grounded. Avoid anything in your home with water, especially bathtubs and showers. If you go to the basement, don't lean against concrete walls.