With all the hot weather we are having this summer and current heatwave, thunderstorms are a common occurrence. Many of us throughout the UK have experienced flash floods, thunder and lightning, and there are more storms forecast.
The chances of being struck by lightning or injured is pretty slim. However, it is wise to air on the side of caution and follow some simple safety tips to make sure you are not in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The focus should be on avoiding locations where lightning can strike, not on what type of objects you are using, carrying or wearing. Essentially, if you are anywhere outdoors you are at a greater risk.
So, if you are worried, follow these lightning safety tips to protect yourself.
Staying indoors is one of the safest places to be if lightning strikes. When lightning strikes a building, the electricity follows the available paths to the ground, through cables, electrical wiring, telephone lines, plumbing and so forth. By doing this, there is usually no danger or damage to the building and people within it.
If you are indoors during a thunder storm, you can take extra caution. Some of those actions include: don’t use any wired appliances, stay away from water pipes, don’t have a bath or shower, and stay away from walls where there is any electrical wiring. In rare occasions, lightning will change paths and go through the air of a building, such as from electrical wires to water pipe.
If your car is a hard-topped car (not soft-top convertible) then it will offer some protection. However, make sure you do not touch any of the metal frame, such as resting your arm on the window. Avoid the use of using any wired device too. If lightning does strike your vehicle, the electricity will flow through the metal frame and usually through the tyres and into the ground.
It is a myth that you are more at risk of a being injured by lightning if you are standing near, wearing or holding any metal objects. These objects may attract a lightning path, but only if the strike is already right by it, within a few feet! If that was the case, you would still experience injury regardless.
If you are wearing any metal objects though and you are hit by lightning, it will usually flow through those metal objects. As it does they will heat up so much, sometimes evaporating, and will cause burns to the body.
If you are caught outside, it is advised to stay away from railroad tracks, metal fence and shorelines. They can bring lightning strike currents that are further away to you. It is a myth that lightning always strikes the tallest objects, however, stay away from tall and isolated objects, such as trees and posts. If these objects are hit, they could fall down and cause injury to you.