Monday, April 7, 2014

Is it Safe to Touch Someone Struck by Lightning?

Apparently I'm on a big lightning kick, given my recent posts on lightning.  Here's another.  Is it safe to touch someone struck by lightning?  There's a common misconception that you should never touch someone struck by lightning because you'll also be severely injured.  This is completely false.  If someone is struck by a bolt of lightning and in need of medical attention, by all means go to them and help.

It's true that if someone is touching a downed power line that you should stay away.  In this case they may still have current from the power line traveling through their body and you touching that person can cause that current to jump to you.  However, when struck by a bolt of lightning, the current is not continuous.  It travels through the person's body down to the ground in a split second.  After the strike there is no more current traveling through the person's body and the person is perfectly safe to touch and help.

This is a good lesson for your kid's that they should have no fear helping someone in need out.  Physics tells us there is no danger in this situation.  Again, be sure to tell you kids never to touch someone holding or in contact with a power line or any other electrical device that has sent a current to his/her body.  That IS dangerous.

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