A lightning storm passed through the Clarence Valley south of Grafton at about 8pm on Tuesday, 8th November, 2016.
A lightning storm passed through the Clarence Valley south of Grafton at about 8pm on Tuesday, 8th November, 2016. Bill North

'DOs' and 'DON'Ts' to stay safe in a thunderstorm

DO

  • Stay inside a building or enclosed vehicle. You are safer inside a structure than outside in a thunderstorm and lightning will be grounded if it strikes your home.
  • Crouch down and touch as little of the ground as possible, if caught out in the open by thunderstorm, as this minimises the amount of damage that lightning can cause to the body.
  • Seek shelter immediately if lightning is within 10km from your position as it may strike around your position next. The distance from the lightning and your position involves the person counting the number of seconds between the lightning flash and the sound of thunder. Every three seconds counted is equal to one kilometre.
  • Avoid using or standing in/near objects which conduct electricity such as golf clubs, umbrellas, trees, puddles of water and metal fences. If these items are struck by lightning, then the person holding/standing near these pieces may be electrocuted.
  • Apply CPR to a person who has been struck by lightning if it is safe to do so. A large majority of lightning strike victims survive and they will not retain an electrical charge. The person may be disorientated, unconscious or unable to speak. Dial 000 and seek immediate medical attention.

DON'T

  • Seek shelter under a tree or open structures as lightning is attracted to tall objects and may result in your electrocution.
  • Go swimming in a thunderstorm as lightning can travel though the water and kill someone who is swimming in it. Lightning also poses a serious threat to people who are wet, as this water lowers their electrical resistance.
  • Use electrical equipment and plumbing as it is connected to the exterior of the house. The electricity from lightning can travel along the wires or plumbing and electrocute you if the appliance is in use, especially if it is a phone.
  • Touch the metal parts of a car when lightning is within a least 10km of your position. If the vehicle is struck by lightning, its metallic parts conduct the electrical energy and if someone is in contact with one of these parts, the energy will escape through the human body.
  •  Go sailing with storms about, particularly far out a sea. The mast of a ship/boat can attract lighting, which can then travel through cables and metal, endangering anyone who is touching them.


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