Lightning strikes form a distance and usually kills one at a time. It causes approximately 2,000 deaths per year. One in four people who get struck die. There are survival techniques to minimize your chances of being a target.
Know the Enemy:
Be able to plan and be prepared. Lightning travels at a speed of ,700 miles per second. Lightning can strike as far as ten miles from where its raining. You should make yourself insulated and not a target.
Lightning generally hits the tallest object and metal and electrical conduits.
Rwanda, Africa is the lightning capital of the world and Florida is the state with most strikes in the U.S.
The 30/30 Rule:
Victims of lightning strikes can either be oblivious to their surroundings and ignore the dangers of lightning, or just be extremely unlucky. You can increase your luck by following safety guidelines. Whenever you hear thunder, this means you are in the proximity of lightning. Anytime you hear thunder, there is an opportunity for lightning to hit you.
Alert and quick action can save you from being struck. The National weather Service’s 30/30 rule urges you to measure and count “flash-to-bang time.” If you see a flash of lightning, start counting to thirty, if you don’t hear thunder before you reach thirty, take shelter immediately. If you hear thunder before you reach thirty, hit the ground where you are. Whatever number you get to is approximately how many miles the lightning that struck is from you.
- Seek shelter in a permanent structure and move to the interior.
- If indoors, stay away from window. Do not use electrical appliances or computers, and do not position yourself near plumbing or pipes.
- If outdoors and no permanent structures are present, get into a vehicle, but keep your hands or any body parts from touching any metal in the car.
- Do not stand near trees or tall objects.
- Avoid touching fences, signposts, or any metal object.
- Power down any cell phones or any portable electronic devices.
- If caught outside, sit down and tuck your head between your legs. Try to sit on a blanket or anything that limits direct contact with the ground.
- If you are in an open field, lie flat on the ground, preferably in a push-up position. If lightning does strike in this position, it will pass through your arms and into the ground, bypassing your heart and other vital organs.
Courtley, C. (2012). SEAL survival guide: A Navy SEAL’s secrets to surviving any disaster. New York: Gallery Books.