Playing Hide ‘N Seek With Lightning
Recent Blog Entries From Dr. Dave Hnida
All I’m going to ask is would you touch a stove that is 50,000 degrees?
You’d have to be a knucklehead to do that. So why would you tempt the fates of being touched by lightning — because that 50,000 is the temperature of the average bolt.
Yet lightning just doesn’t get the respect it should, probably because of all the myths and misconceptions flying through the sky.
Here are a few things to think about the next time the sky lights up in your neighborhood:
The one-one thousand, two-one thousand rule may help you calculate distance, but it doesn’t mean anything from a safety standpoint. If lightning is in the area, no amount of counting in the world means protection. That’s because lightning can travel up to ten miles ahead of a storm. In some cases, as far as 15. So just because a storm isn’t in your neighborhood doesn’t mean it can’t seek you out. You heard of bolt out of the blue, right?
A car will protect you… somewhat. But it’s not the tires. Think about it. Do you believe 2 inches of rubber will protect you from a gazillion volts of electricity? If your car gets hit, the metal and framework will dissipate the electricity into the ground. While we are on the subject of tires, don’t even think about sneakers helping.
If a person gets struck, they are not electrified. Meaning, they are safe to touch… and give first aid to.
Wearing a metal belt buckle, or carrying golf club will not attract lightning. But height will. Tall=bad when it comes to lightning. But swinging that club—- or walking down the middle of that course in the open without a club puts you at “higher” risk since it makes you the tallest object in the area.
Speaking of height, lying flat on the ground isn’t a great idea if you are stuck in the open. Instead, go into a crouch to lessen body size. Squat, tuck, and tilt your head forward. In other words, make yourself small.
Finally, using a cordless phone indoors during a storm generally isn’t a big risk. But a corded phone (yes, they still make them), using a computer, taking a shower, standing by a window etc. —– all bad ideas. Five percent of lightning deaths each year happen to people inside a home.
You’ve probably seen the video of what lightning can do to a home. Think about what it can do to a body. Be smart and don’t play dodge the bolt when thunder is in the air.