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OBA Advice with Thunder Storms
Baseball Ontario for Baseball Ontario follows Environment Canada guidelines with respect to lightning safety:
When thunder roars, GO INDOORS!
If you can hear thunder, you can get hit by lightning. Take shelter immediately. If you cannot find a sturdy, fully enclosed building with wiring and plumbing, get into a metal-roofed vehicle. Stay inside for 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.
Direct strikes are responsible for only 5% of lightning-related deaths and injuries. Two other types of hazardous phenomena are caused by lightning. Ground current and side flash account for 60 to 80% of lightning-related injuries and deaths. A ground current is set up when lightning hits the ground, spreads out and sends a current through a victim. Side splash occurs when lightning hits a tall object, travels partly down the object and then jumps to a nearby victim.
Photo: © Kyle Fougere, Environment Canada
Each year lightning kills approximately 10 Canadians and injures approximately 100 to 150 others. So, how do you keep yourself and your family safe when lightning strikes? Read the tips and information below and stay safe!
The first and most important thing to remember is that if you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance of lightning. Take shelter immediately, preferably in a house or all-metal automobile (not convertible top). If caught outside far from a safe shelter, stay away from tall objects, such as trees, poles, wires and fences. Take shelter in a low lying area.
Once indoors, stay away from electrical appliances and equipment, doors, windows, fireplaces, and anything else that will conduct electricity, such as sinks, tubs and showers. Avoid using a telephone that is connected to a landline or touching devices that are plugged in for charging.
If you are in your car during lightning, do not park under tall objects that could topple, and do not get out if there are downed power lines nearby. If you are caught outside, don’t stand near tall objects or anything made of metal, and avoid open water.
If caught on the water in a small boat with no cabin during thunder and lightning, quickly get to shore. Boats with cabins offer a safer environment, but it’s still not ideal.
Remember, there is no safe place outdoors during a thunderstorm. Once in a safe location, remain there for 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder is heard before resuming your outdoor activities.
People who have been struck by lightning do not carry an electrical charge and can be safely handled, but victims may be suffering from burns or shock and should receive medical attention immediately. If you come across someone who has been struck, call for medical assistance immediately and, if breathing has stopped, administer mouth-to-mouth or cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Additional precautions to take during a lightning storm
© Thinkstock.ca, 2014
If caught outdoors:
- Avoid putting yourself above the surrounding landscape. Seek shelter in low-lying areas such as valleys, ditches and depressions but be aware of flooding.
- Stay away from water. Don't go boating or swimming if a storm threatens, and get to land as quickly as possible if you are already on the water. Lightning can strike the water and travel a substantial distance from its point of contact.
- Stay away from objects that conduct electricity, such as tractors, golf carts, golf clubs, metal fences, motorcycles, lawnmowers and bicycles.
- Avoid being the highest point in an open area. Swinging a golf club, or holding an umbrella or fishing rod can make you the tallest object and a target for lightning.
- You are safe inside a car during lightning, but be aware of downed power lines which may be touching your car. You are safe inside the car, but you may receive a shock if you step outside.
- In a forest, seek shelter in a low-lying area under a thick growth of small trees or bushes.
- Keep alert for flash floods, sometimes caused by heavy rainfall, if seeking shelter in a ditch or low-lying area.
- Before the storm hits, disconnect electrical appliances including computers, radios and television sets. Do not touch them during the storm.
- Don't go outside unless absolutely necessary.
- Keep as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Stay away from windows.
- Use battery operated or cordless devices only. The electrical current from the lightning strike will travel through wires and cords using the path of least resistance. Electrical current will follow metal pipes and wires until it reaches the ground (or you, if you are connected through them).
- Working on a plugged in computer, or holding a phone or other devices when they're charging are unsafe practices that should be avoided during lightning storms. Cordless telephones are safe; however you could hear a very loud noise on the phone. This would be consistent with your house or somewhere nearby being struck by lightning.
- Delay taking a shower, doing laundry, or washing the dishes by hand during a thunderstorm because water is an electrical conductor. If lightning strikes your house or nearby, the lightning charge may travel through the pipes and you could be hurt.
Information on this page was a compilation of various sources mentioned below.
Lightning Safety & preparedness
When thunder roars, GO INDOORS! Every year in Canada, lightning can cause as many as 10 deaths and 164 injuries. You can avoid a tragedy like this by taking a few simple precautions. If you can hear thunder, you can get hit by lightning. Take shelter immediately. If you cannot find a sturdy, fully enclosed building with wiring and plumbing, get into a metal-roofed vehicle. Stay inside for 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder. Direct strikes are responsible for only 5% of lightning-related deaths and injuries. Two other types of hazardous phenomena are caused by lightning. Ground current and side flash account for 60 to 80% of lightning-related injuries and deaths. A ground current is set up when lightning hits the ground, spreads out and sends a current through a victim. Side splash occurs when lightning hits a tall object, travels partly down the object and then jumps to a nearby victim. To plan for a safe day, check the weather forecast first. If thunderstorms are forecast, avoid being outdoors at that time or make an alternate plan. Identify safe places and determine how long it will take you to reach them. Watch the skies for developing thunderstorms and listen for thunder. As soon as you hear thunder, quickly get to a safe location. If you can hear thunder, you are in danger of being hit by lightning. More people are struck before and after a thunderstorm than during one. Get to a safe place. A safe location is a fully enclosed building with wiring and plumbing. Sheds, picnic shelters, tents or covered porches do NOT protect you from lightning. If no sturdy building is close by, get into a metal-roofed vehicle and close all the windows. Do not handle electrical equipment, telephones or plumbing. These are all electrical conductors. Using a computer or wired video game system, taking a bath or touching a metal window frame all put you at risk of being struck by lightning. Use battery-operated appliances only. If on water, get to shore as quickly as possible. The high waves and strong gusts of wind associated with sudden fast-moving storms can make it difficult for swimmers, boaters and water skiers to reach shore safely. Lightning that hits water travels well beyond its point of contact. Small boats with no cabin provide less protection than boats with enclosed cabins. If caught outdoors far from shelter, stay away from tall objects. This includes trees, poles, wires and fences. Take shelter in a low-lying area but be on the alert for possible flooding. Avoid the threat of lightning Stay informed: follow the most recent forecasts Canada receives over two million lightning strikes a year on average. Many lightning deaths and injuries are associated with smaller local storms. It takes only one lightning bolt to change your life. Environment Canada’s Meteorological Service of Canada issues severe thunderstorm watches and warnings for storms that can produce damaging winds, heavy rain and hail. The service does NOT specifically warn for lightning. Watch the skies for threatening clouds and listen for thunder. Stay up to date with the latest weather forecasts and warnings by monitoring your favourite broadcast outlet, Weatheradio or a hand-held mobile device. ISBN: 978-1-100-20134-4 Cat. No.: En56-236/2012E-PDF For information regarding reproduction rights, please contact Public Works and Government Services Canada at 613-996-6886 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos: © Environment Canada (Dennis Dudley and Justin Hobson) and Dan Garswood, 2012 © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of the Environment, 2012 Outdoor events It is impossible to issue accurate local forecasts months in advance. Since summer storms can develop quickly, you should have a weather safety plan ready for any large gathering. In your plan, you should • adopt an emergency alerting strategy; • schedule activities at times less likely to experience thunderstorms, such as the morning; and • ensure participants know the location of a safe place that is close enough for them to reach quickly. On the day of the activity • Have a knowledgeable person monitor the weather, forecasts and warnings; • be prepared to cancel or delay the event well before any storm threatens; • inform organizers and volunteers of emergency plans; and • do not resume outdoor activities until at least 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder is heard. For more information on lightning, visit Environment Canada’s Lightning in Canada website at www.ec.gc.ca/foudre-lightning Remember: in a thunderstorm, no place outdoors is safe.