Re: Lightning Safety (long)
BILL NELSON (nelsonb@AZTEC.ASU.EDU)
Tue, 6 Jun 1995 13:29:26 -0700
> As the Summer season approaches, all of us who love the outdoors need to
>be reminded that lightning injuries are the most common of weather-related
> Please take a few minutes to instruct your Scouts in lightning injury
>prevention. There is nothing listed in the index of the Boy Scout Handbook
>about lightning, and little more in the Fieldbook. Educate yourself first,
>then educate your Scouts. It could save your life or theirs, just like it
From the BSA Guide to Safe Scouting:
Beware of Lightning
The summits of mountains, crests of ridges, slopes above timberline, and
large meadows are extremely hazardous places to be during lightning storms.
If you are caught in such an exposed place, quickly descend to a lower
elevation, away from the direction of the approaching storm, and
squat down, keeping your head low. A dense forest located in a depression
provides the best protection. Avoid taking shelter under isolated
trees or trees much taller than adjacent trees. Stay
away from water, metal objects, and other substances that will conduct
electricity long distances.
By squatting with your feet close together, you have minimal contact
with the ground, thus reducing danger from ground currents. If the
threat of lightning strikes is great, your group should not huddle
together but spread out at least 15 feet apart.
If one member of your group is jolted, the rest of you
can tend to him. Whenever lightning is nearby, take off backpacks
with either external or internal
metal frames. In tents, stay at least a few inches from metal tent poles.
Lightning Safety Rules
Stay away from open doors and windows. fireplaces, radiators, stoves,
metal pipes. sinks, and plug-in electrical appliances.
Don't use hair dryers, electric toothbrushes. or electric razors.
Don't use the telephone; lightning may strike telephone wires outside.
Don't take laundry off the clothesline.
Don't work on fences, telephone lines, power lines, pipelines,
or structural steel fabrications.
Don't handle flammable materials in open containers.
Don't use metal objects. such as fishing rods and golf clubs.
Golfers wearing cleated shoes are particularly good lightning rods.
Stop tractor work, especially when the tractor is pulling metal
equipment, and dismount.
Tractors and other implements in metallic contact with the
ground are often struck by lightning.
Get out of the water and off small boats.
Stay in the car if you are traveling.
Automobiles offer excellent lightning protection.
When no shelter is available, avoid the highest object
in the area. If only isolated trees are nearby, the
best protection is to crouch in the open, keeping
twice as far away from isolated trees as the trees are high.
Avoid hilltops, open spaces, wire fences, metal clotheslines,
exposed sheds, and any
electrically conducted elevated objects.
The Guide to Safe Scouting can be found at
A hard copy can be obtained from the local BSA Council Office.
Webelos Den Leader, Pack 878 ASM, Troop 14
Unit Commissioner, Tempe District, Grand Canyon Council
Phoenix, Arizona USA email: email@example.com
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City