[spacer height=”20px”]How to Survive a Lightning Strike ??
You might think this will never happen to you, but when you consider that the Earth is struck by more than 100 lightning bolts every second,2 it doesn’t sound so far-fetched, does it? If you live in the US, you have a 1 in 3,000 chance of being struck by lightning in your lifetime. Knowing what to do if it happens can save your life.
How to Survive a Lightning Strike
- 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
Have you ever heard of a Faraday suit or Faraday cage? This is what some electrical linemen wear so they can work on live, high-voltage power lines without being electrocuted.
Named after Michael Faraday, a scientist who invented them in the 1800s, the suit or cage is made of a mesh metal or other conducting material, which allows the electrical current to pass through the conducting material without reaching whatever is inside. It moves the current around you rather than through you.
Your car is actually a Faraday cage, which is why you’re safe inside one if lightning strikes (it’s not actually the rubber wheels that protect you, as often believed, it’s the effect of the Faraday cage).
So, if you can make it to your vehicle, do. If not, you’ll want to crouch low to the ground on the balls of your feet with your heels touching, but avoid lying on the ground, as described above.