Prevention

The risk factors and recommendations for the prevention of lightning injuries are well described. 17 Lightning is more likely to occur on hot, humid days. Static on a local radio station may indicate high electrical activity in the atmosphere. In anticipation of a thunder and lightning storm, individuals should remain indoors or seek shelter in a vehicle. Individuals should avoid open doorways or open windows, stay clear of metallic objects (stoves, water pipes, sinks, and bathtubs), and not use plug-in electrical appliances such as radios, televisions, and telephones. Campers should avoid placing tents under tall trees, near bodies of water, or on the highest hill in an area. If caught outside during a storm, all metal objects (fishing rods, golf clubs, umbrellas, and jewelry) should be discarded. If no shelter is possible, individuals should head for dense woods or lie on the ground in a ditch. Groups of people should separate to avoid all becoming victims. All machinery work outside should be stopped; for example, tractors are often struck by lightning. Individuals should get out of water and off small boats. A lightning strike is imminent when an individual's hair stands on end (due to surrounding electrical charge). The individual should squat (much like the position of a baseball catcher) with hands on knees and feet close together to decrease strike potential.

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