Weathering the Storm: Outdoor Safety Tips for Lightning Storm Season

Under normal weather conditions tents provide an excellent haven for outdoor events.  But let’s remember, tents of any kind are temporary structures made of fabric and are not intended to be occupied during extreme weather conditions.  As we see the Summer season come to a close, and temperatures continue to fluctuate back and forth from one extreme to the other, there’s one thing a every party planner can count on.  Lightning Storms.

Certainly, as Tent Specialists, we know what that means in terms of safety precautions but most people don’t and look to us for advice.  Sadly, that advice doesn’t make many party hosts happy.  But forget about your embarrassment; safety for your guests is the only concern that matters.


When you have a lightning storm in the vicinity, the best course of action is to evacuate the tent completely, with the safest place being an enclosed building.  To do otherwise would jeopardize the safety of you and all your guests. There really is no viable alternative.  Even if there is only a small chance that someone could be injured, it’s not a chance that any of us should take.

“A safe building is one that is fully enclosed with a roof, walls and floor, and has plumbing or wiring. Examples include a home, school, church, hotel, office building or shopping center.  Once inside, stay away from showers, sinks, bath tubs, and electronic equipment such as TVs, radios, corded telephones and computers. Unsafe buildings include car ports, open garages, covered patios, picnic shelters, beach pavilions, golf shelters, tents of any kinds, baseball dugouts, sheds and greenhouses.” The National Weather Service


We highly recommend advance planning with all of the professionals involved in the event to develop and coordinate a thorough emergency plan.  Trying to adjust and solve the problem while it’s happening is NOT a good idea and will only cause chaos under the stressful circumstances.

Here are our tips and suggestions to consider when making those emergency plans:

  • How the decision will be made and by whom? {who has authorization?}
  • Where will the guests go for emergency shelter? {is there a building near by?}
  • Is the emergency shelter prepared for invasion? {beverage service, bathrooms stocked, seating, etc}
  • Who will calmly announce the situation and steer the ship to safe waters? {that includes all service staff, no one  is left in tents}
  • Who will make the decision to return to the tents when/if the storm has passed?

For additional information on thunder and lightning storms turn to the experts at the National Weather Service.  They SEEM to know what they’re talking about. {most of the time, but certainly on safety issues.}

But seriously folks, it’s as easy as the childhood mantra:  When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!