Lightning Safety Is Important!
Although the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are less than 1 in a million, some factors can put you at greater risk.
Lightning most often strikes people who work outside or engage in outdoor recreational activities.
Regional and seasonal differences can also affect your risk of being injured by lightning.
In 2019, Florida and Texas had the most lightning deaths.
The consequences of lightning strikes are serious, and even if a victim is not outright killed, lightning can cause severe burns and long term neurological damage.
From 2009–2018, lightning caused an average of 27 deaths per year in the United States. The situation here in the early summer of Florida this year has been especially dangerous.
Monsoon season in India is even more devastating with almost 2000 deaths caused by lightning per year. And in just a few days in June 2020, more than 100 people were killed by lightning in northern India.
Tips for lightning safety!
When you see a flash, start counting the seconds until you hear the crack of thunder. The rule of thumb is five seconds per mile away.
The 30-30 rule is a good guideline. After you see lightning, start counting to 30. If you hear thunder before you reach 30, get indoors. Suspend activities for at least 30 minutes after the last nearby clap of thunder.
Remember: When thunder roars, go indoors. Find a safe, enclosed shelter. Preferably with lightning protection air terminals, properly space down conductors and earthing electrodes in the soil.
If no shelter is available, crouch low with your feet together, with as little of your body touching the ground as possible. Lightning causes electric currents and ground potential rise across the surface of the ground. So every inch your feet are apart can be dangerous.
Do not shelter under trees! If the tree is struck it can explode and if the shrapnel doesn’t get you the huge ground voltage will.
Tents do not offer safety either. An enclosed automobile is usually the safest place if you can’t get indoors.
Stay away from concrete floors or walls. Lightning can travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring. The lightning current induces touch-step voltages between the ground and the wall.
If you are in the city, the tall structures offer some protection from direct strikes but stay at least three feet from the side of the building to avoid the touch-step voltage if the building is hit.
Although you should move into a non-concrete structure if possible, being indoors does not automatically protect you from lightning. In fact, about one-third of lightning-strike injuries occur indoors.
Safety precautions indoors:
Avoid water during a thunderstorm. Lightning can travel through the metal plumbing.
Avoid electronic equipment of all types that plug into ac power cords, antennas and cable television systems. Lightning can travel through electrical systems and radio and television reception systems.
Avoid corded phones. However, cordless or cellular phones are safe to use during a storm.
Avoid concrete floors and walls.
Be safe and aware!