Lightning Protection

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Personal protection in open field

LAdequate personal behavior can avoid both unnecessary risks and irreplaceable damage to people and goods.

In case of electric storm, to protect themselves against lightning, individuals should take the following minimum precautions:

  • Look for a shelter in a structure. If possible, it is recommendable to shelter:
    - in a structure provided with lightning protection system. .
    - in an all-metal structure (f.e. a car).
    - in an earthed roof structure.
  • In case there is no shelter nearby, reduce one's height (crouch down) and surface area on the ground (join the two feet) and do not touch any earthed object with the hands.
  • Do not ride a bicycle or a horse. Do not remain in an open-top car.
  • Do not swim or walk in water.
  • Keep away from high places.
  • Avoid proximity of tall or isolated trees. If the vicinity of a tree cannot be avoided, stand beyond the foliage limits.
  • Do not touch or stand near to any metal object, electrical appliances, window frames, radios sets, TV sets...
  • Do not use or minimize the use of cord telephones. .
  • Do not carry any object which extends above the head (umbrella, golf club, tool, etc.)
  • First aid: The first aid to be given is the same as in the case of electric shocks or burns. Artificial respiration should be administered immediately byh a first-aid worker. Such action and other emergency first-aid may save the injured person.

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Storm formation.

When stormy clouds (usually cumulus-nimbus) are being originated, a positive/negative charge separation takes place inside the cloud.

The cloud´s lower part is negatively charged. This process induces a positive charge accumulation in every element on the earth, especially significative in metallic points.

The cloud starts discharging this energy in steps that last millionths of seconds. These sudden electric variation provoke even a higher accumulation of positive charges.

Now the corona effect is considerable; some times, as a green light, as it happen to be in the ship masts when seamen told about the Saint Thelmo fire. Also, many sightseers have noted how their hairs stand on end when storm is nearby.

Discharging path for the lightning strike is already created. The cloud will discharge through this path: an electric discharge, highly energetic, able to reach temperatures of 30.000º C, that we see as a blinding light that we call lightning, or lightning flash when it is produced between clouds. Thunder is the sound produced by the explosion of gases generated by this heating, along the discharge channel. Thunder duration seems longer due to sound reflections and slower because of lower sound speed (340 m/s) compared to light (300.000 Km/s).

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