The water in swimming pools does not actually attract lightning strikes, but it does conduct the electricity extremely well if the pool is hit. The electricity of lightning strikes can cause permanent injury and is potentially deadly. Swimming pools should be vacated whenever there is a threat of lightning.
Although it does happen, swimming pools are not usually hit directly because they have a relatively small surface area. Pools can be affected by side flashes, however, if lightning strikes surrounding plumbing, power lines, telephone lines or other nearby structures, notes Scuba-Doc.com.
Because swimming pools are connected to plumbing and electrical equipment, such as lights and pumps, both outdoor and indoor pools should be evacuated when lightning is present.
When to Get Out
When deciding when to get swimmers out of the water, the National Lightning Safety Institute recommends using the Flash-to-Bang method. Using this method, swimmers should clear the pool when there is 30 seconds or less between seeing the lightning and hearing the thunder.
When to Get Back In
The National Lightning Safety Institute recommends staying out of swimming pools until 30 minutes after the last thunder claps from a storm have been heard.
It is a myth that lightning victims are electrified and should not be touched. First aid, such as CPR or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, should be administered to strike victims as soon as possible.