Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lightning Safety

One more post on lightning and then I think I'll move on to another topic...maybe.  :-)  It's important to teach your kids lightning storm safety.  You can't always protect yourself against a lightning strike, but there are things you can do to decrease your chances of getting struck.  For starters, a lightning storm doesn't have to be very close to you to cause damage.  You can be struck by lightning from a storm up to 10 miles from your location.  Thus it is always important to seek shelter when you see lightning present.

The best place to go is a house, away from windows and any metal that might be in contact with the outside walls.  There are a few cases of people receiving severe shocks holding onto a sink faucet inside a home, since the pipes in the home were metal.

It's okay to be in your car.  A car has a metal casing and rubber tires.  Don't exit your car, but inside your car you are safe.

Stay away from water, trees, and open fields.  Under a tree may protect you from rain, but a bolt of lightning can strike a tree, travel down a tree, and then produce a side flash to you which can be just as damaging as the original lightning strike.

If you are stuck in an open field, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself.  One is to squat down low to the ground.  Lightning strikes more commonly occur with taller objects.  Decreasing your height can help.  Also keep your feet together, touching.  Separating your feet creates a path through your body that current can enter and then exit.  Keeping your feet together reduces the chance of this.  None of this eliminates the possibility of being struck, but it does reduce the chances.

If you're in water, get out!

Here's an excellent source on lightning safety.

Thunder and Lightning Safety 

Moral of this?  Knowledge of science may one day save your life!  :-)

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