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When Lightning Strikes


Thunderstorms are common any time of the year. They can occur without much warning. One minute the skies could be blue, with fluffy white clouds scudding across them, when all of a sudden a big black thunderhead could come rolling in, bringing with it rain, wind, and lightning.

Weather experts report that lightning strikes the earth 100 times each second somewhere in the world, and 16 million thunderstorms hit the earth every year. It is estimated that more than 100 people are killed and approximately 250 are injured annually by lightning.

As illogical as this may sound, lightning can strike miles away from the cloud source. Keep your eyes on the skies, and make sure when a thunderstorm suddenly arrives, you are prepared for it! The following tips will help you keep safe and sound.

If you are caught outdoors when a lightning storm hits, get away from the following entities, which are prone to attract bolts of electricity:

Open bodies of water

Metal objects (including vehicles, fences, pipes, rails, etc.)

Crowds of people


Telephone poles

Go to the lowest--not the highest point on the ground. For instance, don't stand on a hill; seek a ravine or valley. Make sure you are not the tallest object around. If you are trapped in an open field without adequate shelter when a thunderstorm comes calling, drop to your knees and bend forward, with your hands on your knees. Contrary to popular belief, you should not lie flat on the ground. Be especially cautious if your hair starts feeling like it is "standing on end." This could be a warning that lightning is about to target YOU!

What to do if lightning strikes a person

If someone is electrocuted by lightning, administer first aid immediately. You will not receive an electrical shock from the victim. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and CPR may be necessary if the pulse is weak or absent and you cannot detect breathing. The victim may actually be burned from the electricity, especially if any metal such as belt buckles, watches, or jewelry are worn. Optimally, someone trained in emergency procedures will be nearby.

To find out about classes teaching CPR procedures and emergency first aid, call your local Red Cross office. Take it to heart and it may save a life!

Learn how to protect yourself during a Thunderstorm with these great tips from the Red Cross

3 thoughts on “When Lightning Strikes”

  • Cristofer

    Now this response is going to make me sound like I am as crazy as a corondg, but here it goes!I live in Japan. When we moved here, I made sure my home felt "earthquake safe" and didn't have anything on the walls above our beds, couch, or kitchen table. Our tall furniture is even bolted to the wall. I had some bottled water and canned food, but nothing like I do now.Since the disasters, I keep at least a 1 week supply of bottled water for my family AND pets, and always have 2 extra bags of dog food (in addition to the one they're currently working through). I have cabinets full of non-perishables (non-electric can openers are a must!). I've got tons of extra blankets, battery powered fans, flashlights, hand-crank AM/FM radio,and those stick-on battery operated lights in every room.I sound like a nut, right? :) Well, when the earthquakes and tsunami hit the first things to go were water and gas. You couldn't find them ANYWHERE. I've learned since then to keep my car as full as possible. Once they were able to start bringing gasoline into the country again, I stopped letter my tank get less than 75% full. I don't drive much, so that's probably a little excessive for people who use cars as their normal means of transportation.I was fortunate enough to realize I was moving to a high risk area. I quickly learned a lot from smaller earthquakes and power loses and I think I'll probably carry some of my emergency preparedness crazyiness home with me when I relocate back to the states. It probably sounds OCD to people who don't live in ares prone to natural disaster, but it's better to be a little nutty than to be caught without something you need! We were put under a warning not to leave our homes and go outside (due to the radiation risk), and were told not to drink the water. Those risks are now gone, but you're right! How scary would that be if you were unprepared?Your post is thought provoking. Sorry for the long comment, though! This struck home with me and I wanted to share how my views have changed since everything happened.

  • Tommy Smith

    A simple phrase to remember is when thunder roars go in doors. Stay there at least 30 min after the last sound of thunder.

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