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Lightning Information

"The flash of light that accompanies a high-tension natural electric discharge in the atmosphere," as described in the dictionary. Although this states what lightning is, it is not very informative. It doesn't explain to us the nature of lightning, the dangers involved, or how to protect ourselves from injury due to lightning.



Personal Lightning Safety Tips

  1. Plan in advance your evacuation and safety measures. When you first see lightning or hear thunder, activate your emergency plan. Now is the time to go to a building or a vehicle. Lightning often precedes rain, so don't wait for the rain to begin before suspending activities.
  2. If Outdoors . . . Avoid water, high ground, and open spaces. Avoid all metal objects including electric wires, fences, machinery, motors, power tools, etc. Unsafe places include underneath canopies, small picnic or rain shelters, or near trees. Where possible, find shelter in a substantial building or in a fully enclosed metal vehicle such as a car, truck or a van with the windows completely shut. If lightning is striking nearby when you are outside, you should:
    • Crouch down. Put feet together. Place hands over ears to minimize hearing damage from thunder.
    • Avoid proximity (minimum of 15 ft.) to other people.
  3. If Indoors . . . Avoid water. Stay away from doors and windows. Do not use the telephone. Take off head sets. Turn off, unplug, and stay away from appliances, computers, power tools, and TV sets. Lightning may strike exterior electrical lines and phone lines, inducing shocks to inside equipment.
  4. Suspend Activities . . . The 30/30 Rule says to shut down when lightning is six miles away. Use a "flash to bang" (lightning to thunder) count of five seconds equals one mile (10 = 2 miles; 20 = 4 miles; 30 = 6 miles). It's usually safe after no thunder and no lightning have been observed for thirty minutes.
  5. Injured Persons do not carry an electrical charge and can be handled safely. Apply First Aid procedures to a lightning victim if you are qualified to do so. Call 911 or send for help immediately.

 

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