Living in South Africa exposes us to lighting strikes. And even though we simply love our storms during the summer months (this is especially the case in Gauteng), dramatic thunder and skies dissected by bolts of crashing lightning herald many late summer afternoon storms that present a remarkable spectacle and outdoor theatre.
Even though lightning offers a melodramatic display and is quite lovely to behold it can also prove to be quite lethal and in many instances rather damaging.
Lightning protection is not a want but a need – if you treasure your expensive equipment and sensitive electronic apparatus, it is imperative that you are protected against all these and other eventualities.
Numerous insurance houses now insist that you are protected against lightning strikes as well as power outages – because when the power comes back on, power surges can and will damage all things electronic.
There is no time quite like the present to avoid catastrophic damage to your systems by utilising and installing lightning protection to safeguard against loss experienced during lightning strikes and damaging storms.
Here are a couple of truths as well as some myths from the South African Weather Service:
- If you are outside and caught in a storm with plenty of lightning – you should lie flat on the ground.
The fact is that by lying flat on the ground this will increase your chances of succumbing to ground current. If you happen to be outdoors and caught in a storm it is far safer to seek shelter and if you are not close to a building squat and make yourself as small as possible so that you are unlikely to be a router for the current.
- Lightning never strikes twice.
The fact is that it really can and does strike objects susceptible to strikes more than even twice. This holds true especially if the object or building is tall. A brilliant example is the Empire State Building in the States which is hit almost 100 times annually. Did you know that the Drakensberg has more lightning strikes ever year than Johannesburg?
- If thunderstorms threaten while you are on the playing fields, can you finish your game of golf, soccer or other?
The fact is that you are looking for big trouble if you do! If you have ever lived close to a golf course, the minute there is a pending storm sirens ring out to warn players to get off the golf course – right away. Many individuals are struck by lightning on soccer fields and golf courses; also never ever seek shelter under a tree.
- Metal structures and items are lightning magnets.
The truth is that the presence of metal makes absolutely no difference on where lightning decides to strike. If you think of it like this – mountains are made of stone and are struck often. And while metal does not attract lightning it does conduct it so stay away from metal railings and fences when there is lightning around.
- If you touch a lightning victim, you, too, will be electrocuted.
Fact is that the human body cannot store electricity – therefore it is quite safe to touch a lightning victim in order to administer vital first aid.
- Your house is safe from lightning.
A house is a safe haven from lightning – but this is as long as you avoid lightning conductors such as the phone and other cables, computers, plumbing and metal doors and windows – when there’s a storm don’t phone anyone and don’t have a bath or a shower.
- When there’s lightning you should shelter under a tree
Fatalities are common for those seeking shelter under trees during storms – these are the second leading cause of lightning casualties – it is far safer to get drenched.
Lightning protection is a no-brainer – install yours now to avoid damage to your expensive and sensitive electronic equipment.