Lightning is a discharge of atmospheric electricity which is triggered by a buildup of differing charges within a cloud. This sudden release of electricity causes a distinctive bright flare referred to as lightning which is followed by thunder. 

Estimating The Distance Of Lightning From Your Location

When you see lightning, count the number of seconds until thunder is heard, and then divide by 3. This will indicate how many kilometres away the lightning strikes are.

Consider the “30-30″ safety rule. Count the time between the lightning and its thunder. If 30 seconds or less, immediately seek shelter and remain there for 30 minutes. 


Locations To Avoid 

Consider the following:

  • High places – such as exposed hills, ridges or rocky outcrops, 
  • Open spaces – such as fields or beaches. 
  • Beneath tall or isolated trees, 
  • Rock overhangs or depressions where water may collect, 
  • Partially open structures – such as open shelters, lean-to or dugouts. 
  • Any body of water – get to shore quickly, 
  • Distance yourself from metal objects, 
  • No groups of people – spread out 15-20 feet apart.

Options To Protect Yourself

Consider the following:

  • Take shelter in a fully enclosed building,
  • Avoid contact with all conductive surfaces – such as wiring, plumbing, metal doors and window frames, 
  • Take shelter in your vehicle with all windows closed – avoid contact with all metal surfaces,
  • If you are in the forest – shelter under short trees or clumps of shrubs. Move to a lower elevation.
  • If Caught Out In The Open  

Consider the following:

  • Be a small target – get small! 
  • Crouch low to the ground with your feet together,
  • Do not place your hands on the ground,
  • Do not lay flat on the ground – this makes you a bigger target.


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