SATIB Advisory: Lightning

Lightning – Part One - What You Should Already Know

Where do you start with the subject of lightning safety and protection? There is so much to cover and indeed continuous debate in some sectors as to the efficiency and methodology of some of the recommended Lightning Protection Systems (LPS).

So let’s start with you...

When you see lightning or a thunderstorm is near:

1.     Get inside a building or an enclosed vehicle. Keep away from windows and open doors. If you are outdoors, go to low ground and crouch down. If you are in a group, stay several yards apart from one another. If there is no shelter, crouch in a low area with low brush or bushes. Lightning often strikes the tallest object. Never crouch beneath tall trees.
2.     Avoid standing near water, tall objects (including trees or poles) and metal objects. Electrical current can easily travel through them and then to you.  Stay out of the water. Never go swimming or boating during a storm. Electricity flows easily through water and also through you if you are in the water. Swimming, wading, snorkelling and scuba diving are not safe.  If you are in a boat, get below deck or on the beach. Do not stand in puddles even if wearing rubber boots.
3.     During severe storms, do not use electrical appliances or the telephone. Lightning can strike outside and follow the wires into your home.
4.     Also, protect equipment with surge suppressors and unplug your computer and other sensitive electrical equipment to avoid damage caused by lightning surges.
5.     Avoid the shower, sink and bathtub. Lightning surges also can occur inside your home by traveling through your plumbing.
6.     Keep away from fallen power lines and treat them all as if they were energized and dangerous. If you are in a vehicle that is hit by fallen wires, do not leave the vehicle. If you must leave because of a life-threatening situation, use extreme caution. Jump out and off with both feet at the same time so you are completely clear of the vehicle before you touch the ground. Never touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time.
7.     Sign up for a first aid/CPR class. Check with us for a list of recommended providers - your knowledge could save a life.
8.     For boaters, have a weather radio on board, and don't be on the water when a storm comes up.

Busting the myths!

  • Lightning always strikes the highest point!

FALSE - Lightning strikes the best conductor of electricity, and sometimes that can be a human being.

  • Lightning never strikes in the same place twice!

FALSE – Sky-scrappers and buildings on top of ridges may get hit by lightning a couple of times a year.
 
Apply these principles and look out for our next advisory on Lightning protection.

For further insight contact André du Toit,
(e): andre@satib.co.za
(c): +27 82 446 1697