5 people and a dog hit by lightning near Tillsonburg, Ont.

5 people and a dog hit by lightning near Tillsonburg, Ont.

Five people, including two children, were taken to hospital after being struck by lightning just outside of Tillsonburg, Ont., on Monday afternoon. 

The OPP say the five people were struck just before 4 p.m. at an address on Main Street in Courtland, Ont., which is located about 100 kilometres southwest of Hamilton. 

Police said they were standing outside under two large maple trees at the time of the incident. An adult couple and a child were with another woman and her child, police said. 

All five people were treated for minor injuries. Their condition has since been upgraded to stable. 

Police said one dog was also treated for minor injuries. 

'There is no safe place to be outside'

OPP Constable Ed Sanchuk is advising people to take extra safety measures, and to have a plan in place regarding thunderstorms.

"We need to take this as a learning lesson that if we are caught out in a storm to make sure that we don't take any type of cover under any large trees," he said.

"Please remember that if you are caught out in the open, that lightning generally strikes higher ground and prominent objects... There is no safe place to be outside, so if you hear thunder then it's your warning that you're in striking distance of lightning," Sanchuk added. 

In Canada, six to 10 people are killed and up to 160 people are injured every year as a result of lightning strikes, according to Environment Canada. 

The weather agency issued severe thunderstorm watches this afternoon for the region.