How to escape from a lightning strike

A lightning strike can kill a person on the spot, lead to cardiac arrest, cause severe burns and permanent brain damage. Fortunately, the risk of becoming a victim of such an accident is very small.

Even in the United States, which has the second highest number of lightning in the world, only about 28 people a year die from natural lightning, and the chance of becoming a victim of a strike is less than one in a million.

Still, there are certain risks, especially for those who spend a lot of time on the street during the period of greatest danger. Here’s how to avoid it.

How to protect yourself from a lightning strike in nature

Most often, lightning kills people in the summer, during outdoor activities such as fishing, boating, playing sports or relaxing on the beach. Therefore, going to nature, check the weather forecast . If there is a thunderstorm, it is better to stay at home.

If the weather still caught you in an open area, do the following.

Determine if the danger is great

It’s worth looking for cover as soon as you hear thunder. However, if you do not want to interrupt an activity, such as a sports match or a camping trip , determine how great the danger is – is the storm approaching you or, conversely, moving away.

To find out the approximate distance to a thunderstorm, calculate how many seconds elapsed between the flash of lightning and the roll of thunder, and then multiply this number by the speed of sound – 340 m/s.

For example, if the thunder sounded 5 seconds after the lightning, there is 1,700 m (340 m/s × 5 s) between you and the thunderstorm, and if only 3 seconds have passed, about a kilometer.

Repeat counting after 1-2 minutes. If the pause between lightning and thunder grows, then the storm moves away, and if it shortens, it approaches. In the latter case, do not try to sit out in a tent or under an awning. Get to a safe place as soon as possible.

Find a shelter

Remember: awnings, tents and canopies will not protect you from lightning. And if they get wet, they will pose an additional danger, since water is a good conductor of electricity .

A house or car with closed windows can be a good shelter. If there is nothing nearby, go to the next step.

Choose a place to ride out the storm

Everything will depend on where you are:

  • Avoid open spaces, hills and peaks. Try to find a ravine, hollow or other natural depression and wait out the storm there.
  • In the forest, stay away from tall trees, especially pines, oaks and poplars – lightning can smash them to pieces or set them on fire.
  • Do not stand in the water and try to move away from the body of water. If you are caught in a boat by a thunderstorm, row to shore as quickly as possible for shelter on dry land. Especially if the boat is without a cabin – people die in these most often.
  • In the steppe or field, do not lie flat – if lightning passes through the ground, you will expose a large area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe body to the blow. It is better to squat down and clasp your legs with your hands.

And remember: if you are traveling in a group, keep your distance from each other. If lightning strikes one person, the second will be able to help him .

How to protect yourself from a lightning strike in the city

In urban conditions, it is easier to hide from a thunderstorm. As soon as you hear thunder, look for a safe place: an apartment building, an office building, a car with closed windows.

As a rule, lightning rods are installed in the city, so it is safe to be in residential buildings and office buildings. But open structures like a gazebo, a veranda or a sports arena can save you from rain, but not from lightning.

While getting to cover, try to stay away from tall objects like trees and telephone poles. And don’t touch anything that conducts electricity well, like metal fences and drains.

How to protect yourself from a lightning strike in a private house

Lightning can strike or enter a home through electrical wires and water pipes. Therefore, during a thunderstorm, you should be careful:

  • Do not touch electrical equipment – if possible, use the remote control.
  • Avoid plumbing – do not turn on the water until after the thunderstorm.
  • Stay away from windows and doors that face directly outside and have metal parts.
  • Do not go out to the balcony or veranda.
  • Do not lie on a concrete floor or lean against concrete walls: lightning can travel through wires and fittings inside hollow structures.
  • Turn off electrical appliances from the sockets in advance if the thunderstorm has not yet begun. But if lightning is already flashing on the street and thunder is rumbling, do not approach the wires.
  • Take your pets home. A dog house is not a good shelter in a thunderstorm.

What to do if a person is struck by lightning

Despite the fact that lightning has a current strength of up to 180,000 A and a temperature of up to 300,000 ° C, only 10% of accidents involving it end in death.

And although the blow does not pass without a trace and can result in a variety of disorders (from damage to internal organs to chronic pain and depression), 90% of people survive. And some manage to endure several such cases.

Thus, if help is provided in time, a person can survive and even do without serious damage. Specific measures depend on the circumstances and situation.

If lightning struck you

Check to see if clothes and hair are on fire. If this happens, discard these items as soon as possible . And if you shoot them for too long – fall and roll on the ground , trying to bring down the flames.

Even if everything seems to be in order, call an ambulance. Sometimes lightning damage does not appear immediately, but after some time, and it is better to be under the supervision of doctors at this moment.

And do not stay in the same place: lightning may strike again. So try to change the location, waiting for the arrival of the doctors.

If lightning struck another person

Do not be afraid to approach it: lightning victims do not carry an electrical charge, and you will not be electrocuted. Provide the victim with the necessary assistance:

  • If a person’s clothes are on fire, extinguishthem in any way : fill them with water, cover them with earth or snow, put on a thick cloth and press it against the burning area to cut off oxygen.
  • Call an ambulance – dial 112.
  • Check pulse and respiration. If not, proceed with cardiopulmonary resuscitation. How to do it, read here .
  • If possible, move the victim to a safe place and wait for the ambulance to arrive.


Leave a Comment