The real deal on lightning safety
Interesting that Lightning Safety Week is this week given the weather forecast is for some pretty active storms hitting us tomorrow. So here’s a quick primer on the real facts about lightning safety when outdoors.
- If you’re outside when a storm starts, run to a safe building or hard-topped vehicle. Crouching down doesn’t make you any safer. Basically, there is no safe zone outside so try to get back inside.
- Don’t be fooled by thinking you’re not close to the center of the storm if there are no clouds overhead or it’s not raining. Lightning can strike 10 to 15 miles from a thunderstorm.
- Stay away from tall trees or other tall objects. If you happen to be in a forest, stay near lower shrubs or trees. FYI: finding shelter under a tree is the second leading cause of lightning casualties.
- If camping, set up your site in a low area such as a valley or ravine. But remember, tents do not offer any protection from lightning.
- Stay away from water or wet items. Likewise for metal objects such as fences and poles. Both water and metal are conductors of electricity and the current from a lightning flash can travel quite a distance.
- While metal is a conductor, it’s the metal in a car that protects you – not the rubber tires as myth has it. Lightning will go through the metal frame into the ground. So that said, don’t be touching metal in the car and don’t lean against car doors during a thunderstorm.
Stay tuned tomorrow for how to stay safe indoors during a lightning storm…