Learn how to protect yourself from lightning strikes

Kalerkantho Online   

29 April, 2018 17:24 PM

Learn how to protect yourself from lightning strikes

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The most frequent outdoor activity where people are killed by lightning is fishing. Other activities with high lightning fatality rates are playing golf, camping and sheltering under trees.

The most important thing to know is that there is no safe place to be sheltered from lightning outdoors. When you first hear thunder, you should immediately seek shelter in a "safe" building or car, according to LiveScience report.

NOAA describes a safe building as one that has four walls, a floor, a roof and has plumbing or wiring. A safe car is one that is fully enclosed with a metal top.

Examples of buildings or structures that will not provide protection from a lightning strike are car ports, open garages, covered patios, picnic shelters, beach pavilions, golf shelters, tents, baseball dugouts, sheds and greenhouses.

Once inside the "safe" building, avoid showers, bath tubs, sinks and electronic equipment. Also avoid using electronic equipment inside the car and avoid touching anything metal.

After seeking shelter in a building or car, remain inside until 30 minutes after you hear the last clap of thunder.

There will be times when you are participating in outdoor events that will keep you from seeking shelter. Follow these safety tips if a thunderstorm is approaching and you are outdoors with no shelter nearby.

Outdoor Sporting Events

At the first clap of thunder, all players, coaches, workers and spectators should seek shelter in a "safe" building or car. The event should not resume until 30 minutes after the last sounds of thunder are heard.

Beach or Lake

If you are at the beach when a thunderstorm is approaching, seek shelter in your car. Do not return to the beach until no thunder is heard for 30 minutes.

If you are fishing on a lake, head into shore as soon as you hear thunder. Tie your boat off and seek shelter in a "safe" building or vehicle. If you are in a small boat with no cabin and don't have time to make it to shore, drop anchor and get as low in the boat as possible.

If your boat is equipped with a cabin, seek shelter in the cabin as long as it is fully enclosed. Avoid using the radio unless it is an emergency and avoid anything made of metal.

Bicycle or Motorcycle

Before you ride, check the weather and if thunderstorms are in the forecast, don't ride. If you are out and a storm is approaching, pull off the road as soon as possible and seek shelter in a "safe" building.

Before taking part in any outdoor activities, know what the weather forecast is for the area you will be in. A weather radio is a good thing to have whether you are camping, boating or playing sports. If a thunderstorm is in the forecast, you may want to postpone your outdoor event for another day.

Four other ways

Have a weather alert Radio

You can start preparing for a severe thunderstorm even before one hits to minimize your risk of injury or property damage. The most important tool you can have is a weather alert radio. A radio will notify you when a storm is approaching, and continue providing information about the storm’s threat, which can include dangerous lightning strikes. A model that provides battery-back-up will be the most reliable in the event of a power outage. Think about purchasing special equipment to keep your electronics safe from lightning strikes. The average surge protector will not keep your devices from being damaged by a lightning-induced electrical surge.

Seek shelter

During severe weather accompanied by lightning, the most important thing to remember is to seek shelter. Strong, reinforced buildings such as homes and businesses provide the most protection. However, during an emergency, any shelter is better than none. Moving to a safe, sheltered area away from windows greatly reduces the risk of being struck by lightning.

If outdoors find cover

If you are outdoors and unable to find shelter indoors, take cover in a vehicle. The car’s metal structure will help reroute a potential lightning strike. In the case that you are too far away from any shelter or vehicle, you can do a few things that may lower your risk of getting hit by lightning. Trees, tall objects, and metal structures (such as fences) are most likely to be hit, so don’t plan on using those for shelter. If you are in an open area, seek out low ground with some natural protection, such as a valley or ravine.

Stay away from windos and condcutors

Lightning can cause serious injury to you or your family no matter where you are, even in your own home. Stay away from windows and doors, which can also be vulnerable to high winds during a severe storm. Because water and metal conduct electricity, avoid plumbing or activities using water, such as taking a shower or doing laundry. Refrain from using corded phones; instead use your mobile phone or a cordless landline. Concrete walls and floors can also present a risk, so it’s essential to keep away from areas with these features.

Understanding the risks of lightning is an important part of thunderstorm safety, and can play a crucial part in keeping you and your loved ones safe in the event of severe weather. Always be prepared for severe weather by having a weather alert radio with battery back-up nearby in the event lightning knocks out electricity.


With inputs from LiveScience and midlandusa