SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – No place is 100 percent safe from lighting, but some places are much safer than others.
On average lighting injures about 300 people in the U.S. every year. Nearly 60 die as a result of being struck. Most victims are struck struck playing soccer, golfing, swimming and standing near a tree.
“You have to be careful when your’re outside and try not to go out when it is thundering or a potential for thundering,” said Springfield resident Joe Dolce, who always checks the weather before going out for a walk.
Lightning can strike as far as 15 miles away from where a storm is occurring. If you can hear thunder, you’re within striking distance and should find safe shelter immediately.
22News Meteorologist Nick Bannin said that their are only two really safe places during a storm.
“The safest place to be is indoors, or in a car as well. A car provides some protection for you there too,” said Bannin.
According to the National Weather Service, the air near a lightning strike is heated to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter than the surface of the sun. But it’s not the heat that kills you.
“For most of the lightning strike fatalities, it’s that prolonged muscle paralysis which can go on for several minutes or even up to an hour which is the main issue that affects every muscle including the heart,” said Dr. Louis Durkin of Mercy Medical Center.
Dr. Durkin advises you call for emergency assistance and begin CPR immediately if you witness someone struck by lightning.
If you’re indoors during a storm, it’s best to avoid using electrical equipment such as computers or phones.