Lightning strikes can cause major fires, both indoors and out. However, there are ways to stay safe when it comes to lightning and fire. First and foremost, know the signs of a lightning strike, and be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you see or hear a thunderstorm approaching, take cover inside or go to a preselected safety location. Make sure any flammable items are away from power lines and anything that could spark a fire.
What is lightning?
A lightning bolt is a giant spark of electricity in the sky. It is very bright and can be seen for miles. It is formed when warm air rises and cool air pushes it up. The warm air forms a bubble and the electric charges start to build up. When the charges get too big, they break through the bubble and create lightning. They are very dangerous. A bolt can heat the air around it to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit! That’s hotter than the surface of the sun! A lightning strike can also cause an explosion, called a thunderclap.
One of the ways to protect yourself is installing a lightning conductor. It is a metal pole that helps protect people and buildings from being hit by it. The metal attracts the electricity in a bolt, and it flows down the pole into the ground instead of hitting something else.
What causes lightning?
Lightning typically occurs during thunderstorms when warm, moist air rises and cools. The water droplets in the air condense into ice crystals and these rise high into the atmosphere. As they get higher, the crystals join together to form a giant ball of electricity. This is called a lightning bolt.
A bolt can be up to five miles long and contain 100 million volts of electricity. It can heat the air around it to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is five times hotter than the surface of the sun. It will always seek out the path of least resistance to the ground. This is usually a metal object such as a tree, fence or building. If there are no objects in its way, it will travel from one cloud to another.
How to stay safe from a lightning strike
There are several things you can do to protect yourself from a lightning strike. One of the most important is to stay away from tall objects, such as trees or poles. If you are caught outside during a storm, try to find a low-lying area, such as a ditch or ravine. If you are unable to get to lower ground, make yourself as small as possible and crouch down. You should also avoid metal objects, such as fences or golf clubs. If you are in a building, stay away from windows and doors. If you need to go outside, use a lightning conductor or safety system.
If you are struck by lightning, here’s what to do
If you are struck by lightning, the most important thing is to stay calm. Many people survive being struck, but it is a serious injury. Here are some things you should do if you are struck:
- Seek medical attention right away. Lightning strikes can cause serious injuries, and you should seek medical help as soon as possible.
- Stay away from water. Being near water increases your risk of being struck again.
- Remove any metal objects from your body. Metal objects can attract electricity from a lightning strike.
- Monitor your symptoms. Lightning can cause a variety of injuries, so be sure to monitor your symptoms and seek additional medical help if necessary.
How to protect your home from lightning
Lightning is a natural phenomenon that we can’t control, but we can take some precautions to protect our home from it. One way to protect your home from lightning is to install a conductor. It is a metal rod that is installed on the roof of your home and it attaches to a grounding system. This will help to dissipate the electrical charge if a lightning strike occurs.
Another way to protect your home from lightning is to install a lightning system. This includes surge protectors and arresters. Surge protectors are devices that are plugged into your electrical outlets and they help to protect your appliances from power surges caused by lightning. Arresters are devices that are installed on the outside of your home and they help to prevent damage to your electrical wiring caused by a strike. Contact us today to get them installed for your home!
Let’s dispel some of the common myths about lightning
Myth: If you are stuck in a lightning storm, stick out your thumb to attract a strike.
This is not true! Lightning often strikes taller objects, so putting yourself in a higher place is more likely to get you hit. Thumbs are not taller than any other body part.
Myth: A lightning conductor will protect you from being struck by lightning.
A lightning conductor will not always protect you from being struck by lightning. But what it does well is that it can help redirect the charge away from a building or structure.
Myth: Rubber soles on shoes will keep you safe from being struck by lightning.
Rubber soles will not keep you safe from being struck by lightning.
It is important to be aware of the dangers of lightning strikes and take the necessary precautions to stay safe. While they can cause major fires, there are ways to protect yourself and your property. Make sure you have a working smoke detector and fire extinguisher in your home, and keep a close eye on weather reports so you can take cover if necessary. If you do experience a a strike, make sure to have an escape plan in place in case of a fire. Stay safe and be prepared!