It's Lightning Safety Week in Canada, aimed at bringing awareness to Canadians about the dangers of lightning as outdoor recreation activities increase over the summer months.

Kirk Torneby, Meteorologist with Environment Canada, says injuries from lightning strikes are a lot more common than you'd think.

"Across Canada every year there are approximately 10 Canadians killed by lightning strikes, and injuries from lightning strikes range from around 100 to 150 every year."

This year, Environment Canada is also focusing on myth busting, debunking misconceptions about lightning, contrary to popular belief, the majority of injuries and fatalities are not caused by a direct lightning strike but by ground current and side flash events.

Torneby says another big myth is that a tree might offer a safe place during a thunderstorm.

"20% of lightning deaths occur from people seeking shelter under a tree or an open gazebo, so as we may think that being beside a tree is a great idea for shelter, you could be injured."

He adds another wrongly held notion is that the rubber on the tires of a car provides protection from lightning. The metal shell of a vehicle is actually the mechanism that provides a pathway for lightning to flow around the vehicle before entering the ground.

Torneby shares that it's best to seek shelter before a thunderstorm hits, as lightning can travel far distances.

"The big one is taking shelter when storms are near, two thirds of damaging lightning strikes occur when the storm is not actually directly above you. Lightning can actually travel upwards of 40 kilometres away from a storm, so it's important to know when the storms approach to take appropriate actions to find shelter."

To read more on myths about lightning safety click here.

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