Feature: Beware of lightning!
by Rutchie Cabahug-Aguhob
Cagayan de Oro City (8 October) -- Remember, if you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning! So post-pone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are imminent.
This is the advice of Ricardo A. Mercado, Officer-in-Charge of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomic Services Administration (PAGASA), region 10, who said lightning occurs with all thunderstorms and naturally puts at risk people who are outdoors, under or near tall trees, in or on water and on or near hilltops.
Hence, it is important that people should avoid being caught in a dangerous situation brought about by lightning and observe the following safety rules when lightning occurs:
Move to a sturdy building. Do not take shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees or in convertible or topless automobiles. Stay away from tall objects such as towers, fences, telephone poles and power lines. If lightning is starting to occur and a sturdy shelter is not available, get inside a hard top automobile and keep the windows up.
Unplug electrical appliances not necessary for obtaining weather information. Avoid using any electrical appliance or the telephone, except in an emergency and avoid touching any metal since utility lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity.
Turn off air conditioners to avoid power surges which can cause serious damage and do not take a bath or shower during a thunderstorm. If caught outdoors and no shelter is nearby, find a low spot away from trees, fences and poles.
Make sure the place you pick is not subject to flooding. If you are in the woods, take shelter under the short trees than the tall ones.
If you feel your skin tingle or your hairs stand on end, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands over your ears and put your head between your knees. Make yourself the smallest target possible and minimize your contact with the ground, but do not lie down.
If you are boating or swimming, get out of water and find shelter immediately. Then stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder. (PIA 10) [top]