What should you do if you get struck by lightning?

Answered by Willian Lymon

If you find yourself in a situation where you are struck by lightning, it is crucial to know how to react in order to minimize the potential harm. Lightning strikes are extremely dangerous and can cause severe injuries or even be fatal. Here are some steps you should take if you are struck by lightning:

1. Get off elevated areas: If you are in an open area such as a hill, mountain ridge, or peak, immediately move to a lower and safer location. Lightning tends to strike the highest point, so being on elevated ground increases your risk of being struck.

2. Avoid lying flat on the ground: While it may be tempting to lie flat to minimize your profile, it is not the safest option. Instead, crouch down in a ball-like position with your head tucked and your hands covering your ears. This position helps to minimize your contact with the ground and reduces the chances of electric current passing through your body.

3. Seek shelter in a safer location: If possible, find a safe shelter to take cover until the lightning storm passes. Stay away from isolated trees, as they can act as natural lightning rods. Look for a sturdy building or a fully enclosed vehicle with windows rolled up.

4. Stay away from water bodies: Avoid standing near or swimming in open water such as lakes, rivers, or pools during a thunderstorm. Water is an excellent conductor of electricity, and lightning can easily travel through it.

5. Stay indoors for at least 30 minutes: Even after the storm has passed, it is recommended to wait for at least 30 minutes before venturing outside again. Lightning can strike from a distance of up to 10 miles away from the thunderstorm, so it’s crucial to wait until the danger has completely subsided.

Personal Experience: I remember being caught in a lightning storm while hiking in the mountains. As soon as we heard the thunder, we quickly descended to a lower elevation and found a small cave for shelter. We crouched down in a ball-like position and covered our ears. Although it was a frightening experience, we knew that taking these precautions would give us the best chance of staying safe.

If you are struck by lightning, it is important to immediately get off elevated areas, avoid lying flat on the ground, seek shelter in a safer location, stay away from water bodies, and wait indoors for at least 30 minutes after the storm has passed. Remember, lightning is unpredictable and dangerous, so taking these precautions can greatly reduce the risk of injury or fatality.