10 Easy Ways To Save You From Lightning Strikes

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02 August 2017

Sangita Agarwal

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Bhubaneswar: Even though over 300 persons die every year in lighting and despite the death toll having touched over 50 a few days back, Odisha Government is yet to wake up to the occasion and with no tangible awareness plan, it is simply confined to only lending compensation to the deceased.

Official reports show that there were 396 deaths in 2015-16 in the state due to lightning strikes.

In last four months, the death toll has crossed 100.

The State Disaster Management officials said that it recorded the highest human casualties from lightning strikes within such a short span of time.

Notably, a single stroke of lightning has 125,000,000 volts of electricity. That is enough to run a 100-watt light bulb for more than three months. It is also enough to seriously injure or kill someone.

However, this tragedy can be avoided if we take proper measures as awareness is the key. Thus, OMMCOM NEWS here tries to give some simple concrete ways that can be used in the rainy season to protect oneself from lightning strikes.

1: It is dangerous to take shelter under tall trees. You should be at least 1 metre away from the tall tree.

2: Sheltering from rain under the eaves of houses, and even close to walls and pillars indoors can be dangerous. Sheltering near high rise electricity or cable tower is unsafe.

3: The safest shelter is a large, fully enclosed building with wiring and plumbing, such as a typical house, school, store or public building. If none of these are available, the next best option is any vehicle that has a solid metal roof and solid metal sides, like the average car, bus or truck.

4: Cars, buses, trucks and trains are safe because they are earthed. You should stop driving and wait at one place till the thunderstorm ends.

5: Do not take a shower during a thunderstorm. Metal pipes, or plastic pipes with metal in them, are conducting paths to the outside. Instances galore with people have been shocked doing the dishes, or killed while taking a shower during a thunderstorm.

6: Don't use a corded phone; only use a cordless phone if you are away from the base station (where the phone is recharged). Stay away from televisions, computers and appliances. Plumbing is equally dangerous.

7: If you are outdoors during a thunderstorm, move to a tree-heavy area or forest and stay relatively low. Keep in mind that open shelters (pavilions, dugouts, canopies etc.) and tents are not an appropriate shelter.

8: If you are stuck in an open field, do not stand straight, crouch yourself. The best body position to get in is a low crouch, hugging your body in to your knees.

Though it could lead to slight discomfort and unattractiveness, it keeps you low and makes sure that your heart, lungs and brain aren’t directly on the ground.

9: Staying on or in a body of water is absolutely unsafe. Row or swim to shore as quickly as possible and seek shelter. Water is a very good conductor of electricity.

10: Never lay down on the ground during a storm. There is potential for electricity from a lightning strike to radiate away from the point of contact. If your body is in the area the current can flow through, it could cause cardiac arrest, organ damage and burns.

Last and most importantly, remain indoors for at least 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.

If someone is struck by lightning call emergency number immediately!

The injured person won't carry an electrical charge, so it is okay to touch them, but they need to get medical attention as soon as possible.

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Bijayshree Routray, Minister, Disaster Management, Odisha

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Sarat Kumar Sahu, Director, Met Dept., Odisha