How to Survive a Lightning Strike

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There are a few precautions to take that will help you avoid getting struck, or save you if you are struck by lightning. Lightning is one of the most powerful forces in nature and can be charged with more than 100 million volts of electricity. It can cause fires and can instantly kill one or several people where it hits. The best thing to do is get inside as soon as you hear thunder, avoiding any risk of injury. If you are caught outside with nowhere to go, there are things to do that may reduce your risk of dying from a strike. Even if you do survive a strike, many survivors face many health problems after being hit. It is best to be as careful as possible. The following steps should help you survive if lightning strikes.

  • Go inside as soon as you hear thunder. Lightning can extend up to 10 miles away from the part of the storm where it is raining. Thunder has about the same travel distance.

  • Get away from any lone standing trees and high objects such as telephone poles or flag poles. Stay away from metal fences and avoid any open areas if possible. If you are on a boat, get in the cabin and stay away from any metal or electronic components.

  • Stay away from electrical equipment once inside your home. Computers and corded phones, for example, are directly connected to electricity sources which lightning can travel through.

  • Remove any jewelry, belt buckles or other metal objects you are wearing. These items will heat up very quickly and can cause severe burns if a bolt hits you.

  • Make sure you wear rubber-soled shoes if you will be outdoors for a long period of time. If a storm hits, stand on a plastic mat, raincoat or sleep pad if you have one. These may help stop the bolt from traveling through you into the ground, causing greater injury.

  • Get into a squatting position and fold your arms close to your body. Keep your head tucked down. This position will help to prevent the bolt from striking the brain or major organs.

  • Immediately help someone who is hit by lightning. Administer CPR if necessary and call 911. If lightning strike victims are treated as soon as possible, then most will survive.

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