Thursday, July 23, 2009

Nine Myths of Lightning Safety

Myth No. 1:
— Lightning strikes only when it's raining.
Lightning can strike before, during or after a thunderstorm, often traveling as far as 10 miles and appearing amid blue skies and sunny weather.

Myth No. 2:
— Lightning never strikes the same place twice
Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially tall, pointed objects such as the Empire State Building.

Myth No. 3:
— It's safe in a car because rubber tires protect you from lightning
A car is a safe place during a lightning storm, but not because of the tires. The metal hull of the vehicle conducts the current along the outside of the car. But make sure the windows are rolled up, with no drafts.

Myth No. 4:
— It's safe to stand under a tree in a thunderstorm
Being underneath trees is a leading indicator for lightning harm. People can be struck by a direct hit to the tall objects, or hurt by lightning conducted along the ground.

Myth No. 5:
— It's OK to finish a round of golf or an inning of a baseball game before seeking shelter in a storm
Most sports teams at all levels now have lightning management plans that allow for and encourage ending games at the first signs of thunderstorms. Parents should insist on pulling their children out of games, out of pools or off fields when lightning threatens.

Myth No. 6:
— If trapped outside and lightning threatens, lie flat on the ground or assume the 'lightning crouch.'
If lightning travels along the ground, the folly of lying flat is obvious. Recommendations to assume the "crouch" — feet together, head tucked, ears covered, balanced on the balls of your feet — is outdated and gives users a false sense of security. There is no safe place in the open during a thunderstorm, experts said.

Myth No. 7:
— It's not safe to touch a lightning victim
A lightning strike victims may need immediate first aid, including rescue breathing and CPR. The human body doesn't store electricity. It is perfectly safe to help.

Myth No. 8:
— Metal apparel attracts lightning
Don't waste time shedding metal headbands, watches or glasses during a storm; the objects won't attract lightning to you. It's wise not to carry an umbrella, but only because it makes you taller. Instead, seek shelter quickly.

Myth No. 9:
— In a house, I'm safe from lightning
Going inside a house or other secure structure is best in a thunderstorm. However, once inside, avoid corded telephones, appliances and other objects. Stay away from plumbing and water. Sadly, it's best to avoid windows, even during spectacular lightning storms.
Source: Dr. Mary Ann Cooper, National Weather Service.


For additional information contact:

Alan L. Morton
1005 North Eighth Street
Post Office Box 420
Boise, ID 83701-0420
Telephone: 208.344.5555
Toll Free: 866.946.1669 (866.WIN.1.NOW)
Facsimile: 208.342.2509

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