Lightning Safety Misconceptions

Lightning Safety Misconceptions

Lightning can be a deadly and costly force of nature. Popular myths about lightning may turn out to burn you! Here are 10 important truths to protect you, your family, and your home during a thunder and lightning storm: 

  1. Lightning doesn't strike twice 
    • This is pure fiction! Lightning actually strikes many places, like the Empire State Building, repeatedly! 
  2. Lightning always strikes the tallest object 
    • Lightning only striking the tallest object is untrue. While tall, pointy objects are more prone to strikes, lightning can strike any object, regardless of size or height. 
  3. Indoors is the safest place in a lightning storm 
    • While being inside is obviously the safest place to be in a lightning storm, that doesn't mean a house is always safe. Remember to stay away from windows, and avoid any conducting path leading outside, such as electrical appliances, TV cables, plumbing, and metal doors and window frames. 
  4. "Bolts From the Blue" can strike up to 10 miles away from the storm 
    • Believe it or not, this is true! Lightning can strike farther than three miles from the thunderstorm. Although rare, "bolts from the blue" are able to strike areas as distant as 10 miles away from the base of the storm!
  5. Wearing metal headphones attracts lightning to you 
    • Height, pointy shape, and isolation are the dominant factors in weather lightning will strike an object, according to I.I.I. 
  6. Cars are safe because of rubber tires 
    • The truth is, most vehicles are safe because the metal roof and sides divert lightning around you, not because of the tires. It's important to note that vehicles like convertibles and motorcycles offer no protection! 
  7. Lightning victims should not be touched 
    • This is completely false! Humans are unable to carry an electrical charge, and if a victim is in need of assistance, it is safe to touch them. 
  8. If you can't get inside, under a tree is the safest place 
    • Seeking refuge under a tree may actually be the worst place to situate yourself. If lightning does hit the tree, there's a chance a ground charge will spread from the tree in all directions. Being underneath a tree is the second leading cause of lightning casualties, according to I.I.I. 
  9. If you're caught in a storm, lie flat on the ground to be safe
    • Ground strikes are frequent and extremely dangerous. Lying flat on the ground when outside in a thunderstorm can be incredibly dangerous and deadly! If worse comes to worse and you are outside, the safest method is to curl into a ball with your feet on the ground, knees together and hands over your ears. 
  10. The "cone of protection" will keep you safe
    • You may have heard of the 45 degree cone of protection, the idea a tall, point isolated object will protect you. As mentioned above, tall objects are more likely to be struck by lightning, and standing beneath them is no way a safe option! 

 Keep your eyes out and stay safe when lightning is in the area!

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