According to the National
Weather Service, there were 67 deaths in America last year caused by lightning
strikes. Although the odds of you being struck are about 1 in 240,000, it
is important to be aware of the proper safety precautions necessary to stay safe
in a lightning storm.
First and foremost, if you can hear thunder, you are within striking
distance. If you find yourself outside during a storm, find shelter
immediately. Your safest choice is a building with both electricity and
plumbing - these amenities will draw lightning toward the ground.
A truck or car is the second safest choice if you are caught in a thunderstorm.
Close all windows to your vehicle.
Remember, lightning is attracted to the tallest object in its path. If
you are on a lake or in an open area, find shelter quickly. If you cannot
find shelter, go to the lowest lying area - preferably one that does not have
tall, isolated trees. Do not seek protection under a tree. If you are with others, spread out at least 30 feet
from each other. This will lower the chances of multiple strikes.
Never lie on the ground during a lightning storm. The proper position is
in a crouch, keeping your feet as close together as possible, leaving only the
soles of your feet on the ground. Tuck down your head and hold your ears. Do not keep your body up by holding on
to the ground or other objects. If you cannot hold this position, try to
find a low rock to place your bottom on to help you keep this position.
You must avoid anything metal. This includes metal rods in canopies -
so avoid taking shelter in tents with metal rods, canopies, dining flies or
small picnic shelters.
Your mother was right - do not go near a window or
door during a thunderstorm. Do not use the phone or be near water as well.
If a thunderstorm approaches your house, be sure all children and adults are out
of baths, showers and are not washing dishes. Unplug all appliances.
If you have a computer with a modem, unplug the phone line from the computer to
the jack, as lightning will travel through the wire and burn your motherboard.
If you witness a person being struck by lightning, call 911 immediately.
Death from lightning strikes result from cardiac arrest or the
inability to breath. After calling 911, begin CPR or
Remember, although the storm may have seemed to pass, do not go outside until you have not heard thunder for thirty minutes.