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
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