Caution: Lightning Strikes are Deadly

Lightning bolts kill an overwhelming number of people every year and crashes down to the earth with deafening thunder. Here’s how to avoid danger during a lightning storm.

What is it?
A lightning bolt is a long stream of fast-flowing electrons between the atmosphere and an earth-bound object. They’re oftentimes accompanied by thunderstorms.

Where are they located?
Lightning storms happen all across the planet, although the flash of a lightning bolt lasts only a fraction of a second, while its early formative stages are not visible to the human eye.

How will it kill a person?
Lightning strikes have a mortality rate of between 10%-30%. Severe injuries don’t occur from the misconception of thermal burns, but instead happen when nerves and muscles are damaged by the high voltage producing holes in their cell membranes. Cardiac arrests or seizures are also common due to the electrical current inducing electrical surges within the nervous system or pacemaker of the heart, thus upsetting normal operations. In addition, serious injuries happen when the strike victim is wearing accessories such as an iPod or watch. This is because these metallic objects build up a concentration of the lightning’s energy as a better natural conductor and therefore results in severe burns from molten or evaporating metal.

How to avoid danger:
If you’re caught outdoors and your hair starts to stand on end or your skin begins to tingle, then a lightning strike occurring near you is imminent. The best thing to do is to find shelter somewhere such as in a house or car. Unfortunately, access to shelter isn’t always easily accessible depending on where you’re at. So the next best thing you CAN do if you’re in an open area is to crouch down as low as possible with your heels together while resting on the balls of your feet and your hands placed over your ears. The low position makes it less likely for you to be struck, while the position of your feet allows the electricity from a ground strike to enter one foot and exit the other, rather than into the rest of your body. The hands over your ears minimizes hearing loss resulting from the loud clap of thunder that will boom extremely close to you.

So how many people die every year from being struck by lightning?

According to the International Lightning Detection Conference, 24,000 people are killed every year by lightning strikes.

So would you rather be struck twice by lightning? Or be attacked by a great white shark?


Recent comments