Sunday, 5 August 2012
Is being indoors enough to protect you from lightning?
Lightning is a random atmospheric electrostatic discharge, this discharge is due to massive unbalanced electrical charges building up in the atmosphere. It is without a doubt one of the most powerful forces of nature killing 24,000 people a year. A force powerful enough to reach you indoors if you're in contact with any conductor that originates from outside. For example, if lightning hits a phone line outside your house the current will travel to every phone connected to the external line. The current will continue to travel through anyone holding the phone at the time of the strike.
Really any electrical item has the potential to connect you with the lightning. Your television, computer and hairdryer all have the potential to disrupt your body's electrical signals and ultimately stop your heart and brain. It's only since wireless internet and laptops with good battery life that we've been able to continue browsing the web or watching television during lightning strikes.
Lightning has also been known to strike the exterior of a house and travel along the interior metal pipes, if you're touching anything connected to those pipes that current will travel through you. This isn't as big an issue as it once was, mainly due to the cheaper PVC pipes now used for indoor plumbing. It's nice to know we can now answer the call of nature safely during a lightning storm, I was losing sleep over that issue.