We are not only targets of terrorist attacks, but of lightning strikes as well. The world is a hazardous place. The headlines right now in France are ten children were struck by lightning at an outdoor birthday celebration leaving six seriously injured. They were in a Paris park which happens to be my favourite, the Parc Monceau. At around 3 pm today, a clap of thunder SO LOUD causing me to leap out of my chair with fright sounded over the city. It was followed by a déluge of rain.
The group of children and adults were having a birthday picnic in the park. Naturally, when the rains came, they ran for shelter under the trees. This was a mistake. As I type this, three of the children and an adult are hovering between life and death.
I’ve just googled ‘How to protect yourself in a thunderstorm’ and come up with this –
The Worst Places to Go in a Thunderstorm
If you’re caught in a thunderstorm, resist the temptation to hide under a tree. Trees are typically the tallest objects around, making them perfect targets for lightning and one of the worst places to seek shelter. If you’re near one, the lightning can jump over to you and follow your body on its way to the ground.
Conductors of electricity are highly dangerous during a storm. Avoid any electrical fences, wires or poles or industrial machinery. Water is also a conductor, so stay away from ponds, pools, puddles, streams, etc.
The illustration above shows you the best position to assume if you’re caught in a storm. In a nutshell, here’s what you should know:
- Don’t lie down: If you lie down, an electrical current passing through the ground from a nearby lightning strike can pass right through your body.
- Crouch low: Crouch low so you’re not the tallest object around, and at the same time keep your feet close together with your heels touching. This will help the electricity to go in one foot and out the other. Crouch as low to the ground as you can.
- Crouch on the balls of your feet: This way, a minimal surface of your body is touching the ground and, if a lightning strike does come through you off the ground, the current will most likely travel up one leg and down the other, missing vital organs like your heart.
- Cover your ears: Placing your hands over your ears can help minimize hearing loss from the forthcoming (loud) thunder boom.
- Beware of hair standing on end or skin tingling: These are signs that a lightning strike is imminent. Get into the crouching position immediately if you feel them (but be aware that lightning may strike without these warnings).
If You Can Make It to Your Car, Go There