I was reading an article written by Lisa Collier Cool about lightnings and thunderstorm. What she wrote was quite true that sometimes when lightning strikes, you’re not even safe indoors.
I’ve seen lightning bolt hitting ground in front of my house gate coupled of times in my life. I remembered there was an incident where I was indirectly struck by lightning. I was 14 then. I was on the phone when it happened.
Being ignorant of vigorous thunder claps, I thought it was alright for me to hang on the phone. But this one incident proved me wrong. There was a loud “boom” right before I was hit. The current came through the phone and goes into my body. I felt cold and numb at that time. My whole body was shivering when i hit the ground. There’s no way to stop the grounding of the current because in Malaysia nobody wears shoes in the house.
When my mom saw what happened, she quickly rushed me to the hospital. I was still conscious when i reached the hospital. I couldn’t even speak properly. Everything I see was in slow-mo mode, as if I was hit by an EMP or stuck in a quagmire. I don’t know what happened to my hearing cos I can’t hear what the doctor or nurse was saying. All I know is that I was in a state of shock.
The doctor gave me an injection. What happen next? I don’t know. I dozed off. I woke up back in my house and I still wondering how come I was not hospitalized. Maybe my situation is not serious enough. Well, sad to say, doctors from government hostpital in Malaysia is like that. If they think your situation is not critical, they’ll just send you home.
Anyway, I kinda recovered a day after. My visions and hearing were back to normal. My mom told me that the technician who came to our house to fix the phone lines said that there were more than 20 houses complained that their phone got fried during when that lightning struck. Damn! I learned a hard lesson. No more yakking on the phone whenever there’s thunder clap.
Continue reading for some quick facts…
Lightning is one of the most lethal and misunderstood, forms of weather. Each year it kils 24,000 people worldwide and injures another 240,000. Yet many of us are dangerously misinformed about how to protect ourselves. Here are some common beliefs:-
A building is the safest shelter. True, since only 5 to 10% of victim are hit indoors. However, contact with anything that can conduct electricity – including corded phones, appliances, computers, metal doors or windows and water cn be hazardous.
Cars are safe because of their rubber tyres. False, since strikes easily pass through several centimetres of rubber. In reality, its the steel frame of a hard-topped car that helps shield you (by conducting current to the ground), as long as you’re not touching the metal at the time of a strike. But convertibles, cars with fiberglass shells and farm vehicles with open cockpits offer no protection at all, despite their rubber tyres.
If it’s not raining, there’s no danger. False, because lightning can strike as far as 16km away from the rainy area of a storm, so it really is possible to be hit by a bolt from the blue on a sunny day. If you can hear thunder, even if there’s no rain or clouds, you’re within striking distance and should seek shelter immediately. ( If you can’t find a safe place, like a car or building, move as far as possible from tall objects such as isolated trees, poles, towers or phone booths and squat with your head tucked in until there’s a break in the storm.) Experts advise waiting at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before going outside.
Source: Reader’s Digest.