Lightning is deadly, take precautions

Published 2:48 pm Wednesday, August 17, 2005

By Staff
The recent batches of storms has brought with it threatening jagged bolts of lightning. People really don't realize just how life threatening lightning can be.
Last year I went canoeing with some friends while I was in Nashville. What began as a beautiful day, turned into a bout of isolated thunderstorms.
We were stuck in the middle of a river, woods on both sides and we'resitting in a metal canoe. What do you do in that kind of situation? Well, don't do what we did.
Rather than avoiding the trees and the water, one of my friends decided we needed to find shelter. We placed our feet on rocks that were not quite in the water and found ourselves underneath a tree. I knew it was dumb, but where else were we supposed to go? In the woods with more trees?
As the water quickly rose, our feet quickly sunk into the river.Suddenly, my best friend screams, a crack of lightning strikes above a branch, skips through one person's ankle, travels tothe other person's ankle and lightly popped me in the lip.
We ran like w e had never run before. After looking at several lightning safety tips, I realize now how dumb we were and we didn't follow one single rule.
There really is no safe place to be when stuck outside in the middle of a lightning storm. One of the first rules is to not seek shelter under trees. If lightning is in the immediate area, and there is no safe location nearby, get into the lightning desperation position. Crouch down but do not lay down. Bend your knees down while keeping your feet together, advises the NOAA.
Look for a bridge. Stay away from water. In 2003, there were 44 deaths attributed to lightning. Practice safety while indoors too.
NOAA suggests you avoid contact with corded phones, avoid contact with plumbing, stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches and don't lie or lean against concrete floors.
Mary-Allison Lancaster is the managing editor of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached by e-mail at

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