THE second monsoon season, which normally starts in September, seems to have arrived earlier this year. Although this is welcome news since Selangor folks are facing the threat of water shortages, we should also be mindful that thunderstorms pose a lightning threat to people out in the open.
To avoid untoward incidents, the lightning safety rule below should be adhered to strictly, especially by students and young adults who seem to make up most of the lightning deaths and injuries.
The reason for this is that they form the majority of people who are out in the open for recreational and sports activities.
Stop all outdoor activities and seek shelter as soon as you see dark thunder clouds gathering on the horizon or over the hill.
Lightning can strike up to 15 km away from a thundercloud that is even before the rain starts
Lightning can strike up to 15km away from the thundercloud, that is, even before the rain starts.
Run for shelter if you hear thunder or see a lightning bolt. You are already in danger of being struck by lightning.
Do not wait for the rain to fall before you act. Never use an umbrella in a lightning storm.
Do not take shelter under a tree or in a tent, a small shed, a kongsi, a rotunda or a roadside food stall.
For small shelters, ensure that they have been installed with a proper lightning protection system before you take shelter in them.
Do take shelter inside a sturdy or large building (eg. a shop or a house), inside a metal roofed vehicle (eg. a bus, van or car) or under a large structure (eg. a bridge).
Do not loiter outside a large building to avoid being struck by debris from lightning damage.
If there is no proper shelter nearby, get down from an elevated position (eg. mound, hill top or platform). Get into any depression in the ground or in a dry drain.
Get into a lightning defensive position i.e. squat down with your feet together and close your ears with your hands.
Do not lie down. Do not touch any metal objects (eg. fence and gate) near you.
If it rains, get your clothes wet as wet clothing helps to reduce serious injuries in the event of a lightning strike. Let the current flow over you instead of inside you.
Inside a shelter, do not touch any metallic object, electric equipment or cable.
Do not use the telephone unless it is really urgent. Use a mobile phone instead (if available). Keep away from the balcony, verandah, doorway, window, wall or pillar.
Stay inside your shelter for 30 minutes after the last thunder is heard.
Lightning can still strike even after the rain had stopped.Z.A. Hartono, Kuala Lumpur NST Letters 5 SEPTEMBER 2014 @ 8:07 AM