Lightening is an electrical discharge which results from a buildup of static electricity between the ground and the clouds, or between two clouds. Lightening kills nearly 100 people every year in North America. Injuries caused by lightening are many times that number. Eighty-five percent of lightening victims were children and young men between the ages of 10-35 years. They were usually engaged in recreational or work activities. Twenty percent of strike victims die, while 70% will suffer serious burns.


One young man was golfing with friends when a thunderstorm approached. He jokingly dared God to strike him dead with lightening as he waved his golf club. He was struck almost instantly and died.


When a thunderstorm threatens, take these precautions to reduce the likelihood of being struck by lightening.



If youíre caught outdoors:

You can estimate the distance a lightening strike is away from you by counting the seconds between the flash and the thunderclap. For each five-second count, the lightening is approximately one mile (1500 meters) away.

Copyright 1997 SafetyHealth Publishing Inc.

Martin Lesperance is a fire fighter/paramedic and is the author of the best selling book "I Wonít be in to Work Today Ė Preventing Injuries at Home, Work and Play" Martin delivers keynote presentations dealing with injury prevention. His talks are funny, but still have a strong underlying message. Visit his website at