Danger during thunderstorms
Lightning claims quite a few lives and injures many every
year. Quite a large number of injuries from the electric shock
received while using fixed telephones during thunderstorms.
Take these precautions during thunderstorms:
Take action now
- Consult an electrician for advice on lightning
conductors required for your house.
If caught outdoors
If you hear thunder 10 seconds after a lightning flash, it
is only about three kilometres away. The shorter the time, the
closer the lightning, so find shelter urgently:
- Seek shelter in a hardtop (metal-bodied) vehicle or
solid building but avoid small open structures or fabric
- Never take shelter under a small group of (or single)
- If far from any shelter, crouch (low, feet together),
preferably in a hollow. Remove metal objects from head /
body. Do not lie down flat but avoid being the highest
- If your hair stands on end or you hear `buzzing' from
nearby rocks, fences, etc, move immediately. At night, a
blue glow may show if an object is about to be struck.
- Do not fly kites during thunderstorms.
- Do not handle fishing rods, umbrellas or metal rods,
- Stay away from metal poles, fences, clotheslines etc.
- Do not ride bicycles or travel on open vehicles.
- If driving, slow down or park away from trees, power
lines, stay inside metal-bodied (hard top) vehicles or in a
pucca building but do not touch any metal sections.
- If in water, leave the water immediately.
- If on a boat, go ashore to a shelter as soon as
- Be sure the mast and stays of the boat are adequately
If you are indoors
- Before the storm arrives, disconnect external aerial and
power leads to radios and television sets. Disconnect
computer modems and power leads.
- Draw all curtains and keep clear of windows, electrical
appliances, pipes and other metal fixtures (e.g. do not use
the bath, shower, hand basin or other electric
- Avoid the use of fixed telephones. In emergencies, make
calls brief, (do not touch any metal, brick or concrete) and
do not stand bare foot on concrete or tiled floors.
- Apply immediate heart massage and mouth-to-mouth
resuscitation to lightning victims until medical help
arrives. (You won't receive a shock from the victim).
Lightning facts and myths
- When struck, people do not glow or fry to a crisp but
the heart and breathing are often affected.
- Only about 30% of people struck actually die, and the
incidence of long-term disability is low, particularly when
appropriate first aid is applied promptly.
- If your clothes are wet, you are less likely to be
seriously injured if struck, as most of the charge will be
conducted through the wet clothes rather than your body.
- Lightning can, and often does, strike more than once in