How to Avoid Getting Struck by Lightning
Despite the beauty of nature, at times, its manifestations carry risks and dangers for humans. One such natural phenomenon that can cause irreparable harm is a thunderstorm. It often occurs in the warm season, when people like to go out of town, spending time at the pond or in the woods. We will consider safety measures during a thunderstorm, how to stay safe from lightning, and how to avoid lightning in this article.
What Is a Thunderstorm and Lightning Strike?
A thunderstorm is an atmospheric phenomenon characterized by heavy precipitation, thunderclaps, squally wind, and lightning strikes. Its harbingers are cumulonimbus-rain clouds, the characteristic feature of which is a dark color and an elongated, elongated shape.
Lightning is one manifestation of a severe thunderstorm. It is an electrical atmospheric discharge that can cause a fire. Its voltage is up to 100 million volts accompanied by a shock wave of sound (thunder) and a bright flash of light in a bizarre shape. On average, its length is up to 2.5 km.
The first thing struck by lightning will be the internal organs, especially those containing air. The sharp contraction of muscles under the influence of electric current of such power can lead to fractures of bones, including the spine. Stunting, disorientation, shock, paralysis, and death are all possible consequences for a person from a lightning strike.
Statistically, about 70% of its victims are men. Knowing and following the lightning safety tips can prevent many tragic.
If you find yourself in an area where there is absolutely nowhere to hide from an impending thunderstorm (plain, field), first determine how far away the lightning is from you. To do this, measure the time that passes between the flash and the sound of thunder you hear. If the time is 3 seconds, the distance is 1000 m, 2 seconds is 600 m, but 1 second says that the natural electric source is only 300 m away from you.
Your lightning precautions will depend on doing the right thing. The main and most common mistakes are:
- Attempting to take cover under a solitary tree or haystack;
- Run, walk, or stand at full height;
- Seeking and climbing any high ground.
To wait out a thunderstorm in an open area, find some low ground (a hole, ravine), or simply squat, but do not lie down on the ground. The distance from high lonely objects should be not less than 200 m. Remember, that usually a lightning strike selects the highest objects, and you will be among them in an open area. Stay away from bodies of water, and don’t use your phone – it’s better to turn it off.
In the Woods
In a wooded area, it is safest to find shelter under small bushes. If there are no small bushes nearby, there should be at least 4-5 meters between the trees and you. You should sit down in a fetal position.
Near a Reservoir or Lake
Water is an excellent conductor of electricity, so during a thunderstorm, you should immediately leave the body of water and move a safe distance (at least 100 m) away from it. Do not wait it out on the beach in a tent or hiding under trees.
In case a natural phenomenon catches you in a boat, and it is a long way to swim to shore, follow these lighting safety rules:
- Wet clothes are just as capable of attracting a zipper as the water surface of a body of water, so sit on any dry clothes. A life jacket will also work.
- Cover yourself with a tent or cellophane on top, but it in no case touches the water.
In addition to water and wet clothes, lightning can attract the following things: a running cell phone, an umbrella (especially spokes and rod), and things made of metal (keys, tools).
As a rule, lightning rods make a room the safest place to wait out a thunderstorm. But there is a possibility of encountering ball lightning, which can often enter any room through open vents, windows, and doors. In case you wait out a natural phenomenon at home:
- Exclude any drafts by closing all windows and doors;
- Don’t forget the chimney;
- Do not use a telephone, including a landline;
- The same applies to a fireplace or stove. Smoke from the chimney can attract a thunderstorm;
- Turn off all electrical appliances and stay away from electrical wiring, outlets, or switchboards;
- Don’t be near windows.
- Remove jewelry.