How to survive a lightning strike – or, better yet, avoid one

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But these are small groups considering the country’s population numbers more than 300 million and there are more than 25 million lightning strikes per year in the US, the weather service says. It is also worth noting that 90% of victims of lightning strikes survive.

Still — here are some things you can do to lower your chances.

‘When thunder strikes, go inside the house’

The National Weather Service has a simple but effective slogan: “When thunder hits, go indoors.”

As soon as you hear thunder, see lightning or the sky looks threatened, you should go inside the house as soon as possible.

“The most important thing is that you are safe inside a large enough building or a fully enclosed, metal-topped vehicle,” Ron Holle, a meteorologist and lightning safety expert at the National Lightning Safety Council, told CNN. “Nowhere is safe outside those two places.”

A substantial building means a structure with proper wiring and plumbing, Hole explained. Tents, sheds, dugouts and picnic shelters are not protected from lightning.

This is because when lightning strikes a home or other building, it travels through plumbing and wiring to grounded rods that send all that electricity safely into the earth. A tent or small shelter provides no such protection.

If you hear thunder while camping or without access to a large building on the beach, you should immediately seek shelter in your vehicle.

According to the Weather Service, you should wait 30 minutes from the last time you heard thunder to leave the vehicle.

Bikers or motorcyclists who hear thunder should come to a safe building and wait for 30 minutes after the last rumble.

Avoiding lightning inside the house

OK, so you heard the thunder and went inside a proper building. The good news: “You’re infinitely more secure on the inside than on the outside,” Hole said.

According to the National Weather Service, the next step is to close the windows and avoid the use of wired electrical equipment.

“You don’t want to be hooked to wiring and plumbing, like holding a wired telephone, or holding an appliance when lightning strikes the house,” Holle explained. “Adding your hands to running water in the sink or bathtub” is also a risk, he said.

The Weather Service says you should also stay out of balconies, porches, garages, windows and doors.

And if it’s not safe for humans to be outside during a storm, it isn’t safe for pets either. According to the Weather Service, get your pet inside as soon as possible when you hear thunder. The agency says dog houses do not provide protection against lightning and that dogs tied to trees are particularly at risk.

Save the boat trip for another day

According to the Weather Service, most large boats with a thunderstorm cabin are fairly safe. Small boats with no cabin are another story.

“The vast majority of electrical injuries and deaths on boats occur on small boats without cabins,” the weather service says. “It’s important to listen to the weather information when you’re boating.”

The service advises people not to go boating when thunderstorms are forecast. If you hear thunder on the water, you should return to shore as soon as possible – and ideally at least 100 yards from shore.

If you can’t get ashore, you should drop anchor, get down as low as possible and stay inside the cabin – and stay away from any metal surfaces, such as radios you might use in the first weather. Will be doing to track. ,

But if you’re not on a boat—or the boat doesn’t have a cabin—you’re actually better off staying in deep water during a storm, according to the weather agency.

Last resort: staying safe outside

A key lightning avoidance strategy is awareness and planning.

Read the weather forecast and know if there is a chance of thunderstorms in the places you are visiting. Time your schedule so you can avoid being outside in thunderstorms. Professional lightning detection equipment can also be used to alert when lightning strikes.

“If you’re outside, you’re highly sensitive to electricity,” Holle said.

If going indoors isn’t possible, there are still a few things you can do to slightly reduce your risk.

In a thunderstorm, avoid open fields, a hilltop, or a ridge top, the weather service says. Likewise, you should stay away from tall, isolated objects such as trees and leave any bodies of water immediately. Of course, you’ll want to avoid any wet or metal objects that can conduct electricity.

Low-lying areas such as canyons and ravines are safe bets. If you’re in a group, spread out to prevent any current from traveling between people, the weather service says. And don’t lie flat on the ground.

Still, Hoeley noted that the evidence for many of these lightning avoidance strategies is still unclear.

Getting in is the most important thing: Nearly all lightning-related deaths in the US over the past few decades have happened outside, he said.

lightning strikes around the world

“Most people in America have an electrically secure building or an electrically protected vehicle, and they just need to get there,” Holle said. “Not so for millions of people around the world.”

As of 2016, the top lightning hotspot in the world was Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. But Africa is the continent with the most hotspots, according to nasa, six of the top 10 places in the world were found there. Most are lakes, including Lake Victoria, which overlaps Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.
Working in Hole ACLNet. an organization called It aims to reduce lightning deaths, injuries and property damage across Africa. The organization is based in Uganda, where deaths still regularly occur for people with no wiring or plumbing inside homes.

They advocate for better lightning safety education and the establishment of functional lightning protection systems for schools and other buildings.

avoid lightning

Although most people struck by lightning survive, the effects can be severe and long-lasting.

Survivors have experienced debilitating injuries, burns and ongoing disability, including symptoms such as seizures and memory loss.

The National Weather Service says that if someone near you is struck by lightning, call 911 immediately.

People who are struck by lightning do not have an electric charge, according to CDC — so it is safe to touch and move them. If possible, take them indoors. The victim may have stopped heart or breathing and may need CPR.

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