Life Saving Tips
No. 1. Run for shelter if you can hear thunder or see lightning. Do not wait for the rain to fall before you act. Sometimes, lightning strikes even before the rain begins.
No. 2. Take shelter inside a large, sturdy building made from steel reinforced concrete (for example”‘ a shop or a house), Inside a metal vehicle (such as a bus, van or car) or under a large structure (for example, a bridge). Do not loiter outside a large building to avoid being struck by debris from lightning damage. If you are caught outdoors because there is no proper shelter nearby then follow steps 3 to 7
No. 3. Do not seek shelter under a tall, isolated tree – lightning often strikes the highest object on the ground. If you have no choice stay under a clump of small trees, preferably in a valley.
No. 4. Don’t be the tallest object in an open area (such as a field or the sea). Get down into a lightning defensive position, i.e. squat (but don’t sit) with your feet TOGETHER and cover your ears. Do not lie down. If it rains, get yourself wet because water in your clothes helps to reduce serious injuries if you are struck the current flows over you instead of inside you.
No. 5. Stay away from isolated tall poles and telecommunications towers. Although you won’t be hit directly when lightning strikes tall objects, the current will travel through the ground to you.
No. 6. Do not think that a tent, small shed, rotunda or roadside food stall is safe. Most small shelters are not fitted with proper lightning protection systems. Similarly, never use an umbrella – it just makes you a higher target for lightning.
No. 7. If you can’t find a proper shelter nearby, get down from higher ground (such as mounds, hills or platforms). Get into any depression in the ground or into a dry drain.
Even if you do get into a building, you still have to follow these – safety steps:
No. 8. Do not touch any metallic object, such as electrical equipment or wiring. If you really must use your laptop, disconnect the wires and run it on batteries and wireless internet. If you need to make a call, use a mobile phone. Do not use the (fixed line) telephone unless it is really urgent.
No. 9. Keep away from the balcony, verandah, doorway, window, wall or pillar as lightning can strike through open spaces. Do not take a bath or use the sink during a thunderstorm. Water pipes conduct electricity.
! Stay inside your shelter for 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder is heard. Lightning can strike up to 15km away from the thundercloud i.e. even after the rain has stopped!
Most importantly, remember this slogan: When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!
Starmag, Sunday : 24 May 2009 | Star Graphics 2009
How to Survive a Lightning Strike
- If your hair begins to stand on end or your skin starts to tingle, a lightning strike is eminent. Immediately get into the couching position. Lightning may strike without this warning, however.
- Crouch down low like a baseball catcher. Get as low as you can. The nearer you are to the ground, the less likely you are to be struck by lightning. But never lie down!
- Place hands over ears to minimise hearing loss from the loud clap of thunder that will boom very close to you.
- Don’t touch any possible conductors.
- The only thing touching the ground should be the balls of your feet. Lightning can hit the ground first, and then enter your body. The more you minimise your contact with the ground, the less chance of electricity entering your body.
- Touch the heels of your feet together. If electricity from a ground strike enters through your feet, this increases the chances of the electricity going in one foot and out the other, rather than into the rest of your body.