How to cut risks of lightening Tragedy?” Fear of lightening or thunderbolt is well known to humanity since ancient times. Our religious books depict lightening as a natural calamity in the face of which, human beings become helpless. Punjabi folk songs also compare lightening with the turbulent love of a youngster which ultimately leaves him/her broken hearted and injured.

Even today in spite of great advances made by the modern society in this field of science and technology almost 1500 people die due to lightening every year in U.S.A. Only a few years ago a tragedy as a result of lightening occurred in the state of Nebraska, which left two people burnt to death and charred another seriously. This tragic incident naturally tempts us to think as to what causes this phenomenon and what should be done in the face of imminent thunderbolt or lightening?

A thunderbolt is a highly charged flash of electricity caused by an imbalance between negative and positive charges within a cloud or between a cloud and the ground . . . The imbalance itself is caused by air turbulence.

Lightening is a natural phenomenon which aids in reestablishing the electrical balance between negatively and positively charged particles namely atoms, molecules, dust or tiny raindrops. When negatively and positively charged particles meet each other in order to reestablish the balance, they release enormous amount of energy in the form of temperature, even up to 50,000f.

Along with heat, sudden thunder is also heard. The release of electrical charge and thunderclap occur simultaneously but sound of the thunder is heard after the lightening. This is due to the fact that light travels with much higher velocity as compared with the sound under atmospheric conditions.

We should always keep in mind that lightening can strike anyone caught in a thunderstorm and kill instantly. Lightening protection Institute advises, “Don’t tempt lightening with bravado and exposure. There is no indignity in retreating before the thunderbolt.” There are few commonsense tips advised by Lightening Protection Institute based in Harvard Ill that can help an individual caught unaware in a thunderstorm.

*(1) Stay away from lone trees. Lightening notoriously seeks out the tallest objects in the area.

*(2) If there is a grove of trees nearby, take the shelter under a small one.

*(3) If you must be in the open, choose a low spot and keep yourself low.

*(4) If you are in or on the water, move out fast. Lightening has an affinity for water, and it does not have to hit you in this water to kill.

*(5) Seek shelter in descending order of safety — in a building protected by ant lightening devices, a closed automobile, a large building away from metal objects. If not protected otherwise, a cave, dry ditch, or any other low shelter is recommended.

Sometimes the worst happens and lightening finds and kills a human victim. In that case the surviving companion should attempt to revive the victim using mouth to mouth resuscitation and chest massage.

 be careful and act fast.

Article extracted from this publication >>  July 12, 1985