There would be about 250 stormy days a year in France with about a hundred people affected and about ten deaths. How do you protect yourself from the storm at home? In a car? out? Can we drive? Take a shower ? What should you unplug? Advice from a firefighter.
An episode of intense heat is often followed by a thunderstorm. According to Météorage, there are approx 250 stormy days a year in France with a hundred people affected and ten deaths. “Compared to accidents are low but no risk exists, a few basic rules of personal protection could surely reduce the number of victims“, Vincent Lombart indicates from the start, firefighter and former firefighter in Paris. How protect yourself from a storm at home ? With car ? out? Near a beach? At the campsite? Can we take a shower? behavior? Need to unplug your electrical equipment? ? Tips.
Is the storm dangerous or not?
“Thunderstorms have always been dangerous for people. In addition to the potentially traumatic effects associated with noise and lightning, the human body is a good conductor of electrical current and storm clouds (cumulonimbus known by their strong vertical extensions i anvil shape) generate strong electric currents which, to reach the ground, take the shortest path goes through a good driver who all highlights (church tower, buildings, pylons, trees), but also a human being”, explains our interlocutor in the introduction. To protect themselves”common sense rules should be followed because thunderstorms are frequent short duration but can be a lot high intensity with significant material damage.”
According to the Weather Channel, the risk of thunderstorms can be estimated using the number of flashes observed in a storm. A thunderstorm is strong and therefore “more dangerous” (the risk of lightning is higher) if the lightning strikes close togetherin the form of repeated lightning strikes (sign that they hit the ground directly from the clouds). Moreover, if the top of the cloud is shiny white and its bottom is blackthe storm is intense and can be accompanied by strong gusts of wind, heavy showers and sometimes even hail.
► This summerthunderstorms are more frequent but of intensity low to moderate.
► In the winter, thunderstorms are less frequent, however high intensity (average amperages twice as high as during summer episodes, and more than one in 3 shocks are found to be severe (ie greater than 50,000 amps) during this period compared to 1 in 15 in summer).
“The best thing is to stay in your house and unplug the electrical appliances”
What are the health hazards of thunderstorms?
The damage of the storm to the human body can be several:
► The direct effects of the storm (lightning):
- superficial burn
- internal combustion
- Cardiac arrest
► The indirect effects of the storm (associated with strong gales or rainfall):
- Falling materials
- falling trees
What should you unplug in case of a storm?
In terms of prevention,the best thing is to stay in his house whenever possible and unplug electrical appliances (TV, antenna cable, landline, computer, box, several sockets, etc.) and D’avoid touching all metal parts and parts (white goods, taps, pylons, grids, posts, fences…)“. If a thunderstorm is forecast, items that are sensitive to wind and may fall should be sheltered in advance. If possible, it is best to have surge arresters installed in advance which protects electrical devices against current fluctuations without pulling the plug.
Can we swim in case of a storm?
In case of thunderstorms,it is necessary avoid touching water from drains due to the risk of the electric current rising), and therefore it is better avoid taking a shower or bath“, warns the fireman.
Car: can we drive in case of storm?
It is better to avoid driving in case of a storm and above all, do not touch the metal parts of the car. “Outdoor, a stationary vehicle remains in a good place where you can protect yourself the tires act as an insulator and body made “faraday cage” (which makes it possible to block the magnetic field), of course i avoid parking under a tree“.
Should we close the windows in case of a storm?
In case of thunderstorms it is better close windows and shutters“if possible in the lower levels (even in the basement)“, he recommends. It is also better not to stay near windows.
On foot, for example on a hike, if there is no shelter nearby and it is impossible to take shelter inside, you must:
- Avoid walking or running but rather do small steps because of what is called step voltage. “E.g quadrupeds are much more likely to be struck by lightning: about 20,000 deaths per year“.
- Avoid taking shelter under an isolated tree and stay away from wooded areas.
- Do not seek shelter under an umbrella.
- Do not enter a submerged path or near a stream (therefore not close to a beacha lake, a river, a swimming pool, etc.).
- curl up near the ground : squat on the ground, feet on an insulating material (slicker, K-way, backpack, rope) and tuck your head into your shoulders.
- Stay at least 3 meters away from other people in the area.
- Cover yourself with waterproof clothing or a tarp for shelter.
- on the campsite: do not stay in the tent and prefer a specific place or squat on the ground.
If you witness an accident associated with storms, the action is the same for any type of accident:
- Protect: to avoid worsening the victim’s condition. Check its condition. If she is breathing, place her in the safety position on her side (PLS). If she doesn’t breathe, one does heart massage or use one defibrillator if it is possible.
- To warn by calling emergency (18, 112, 17 or 15)
- To save “within the limits of its powers. The best thing is to be guided by the call to the emergency services“, concludes our specialist.
Thanks to Vincent Lombart, firefighter and former firefighter from Paris.