Every monsoon, across Northern India (mostly) we have lightning strikes injuring many and killing a few! There has even been a video circulated on WhatsApp in 2020, showing four labourers getting struck by lightning while taking shelter under a tree, in Gurgaon (captured by one of those ubiquitous CCTV cameras that abound in urban areas).
While researching for a chapter written for the Association of Physicians of India Textbook of Medicine, I learnt that lightning injuries are reported in the National Crime Records Bureau database! Go figure!
Lightning injuries and deaths are not that uncommon nowadays. We might have come across recent news reports of lightning strike deaths in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Some of these unfortunate deaths were due to taking ‘selfies’ outdoors during a thunderstorm and some were just folks doing routine field work in rural areas.
The first myth we need to dispel is that the tallest object only will be struck or that taking shelter under a tree will protect you. Keep in mind that lightning is impersonal. Try to picture someone sitting at 30,000 feet and trying to send down a targeted bolt of lightning to a precise spot! Unrealistic right?
Being outdoors during a thunderstorm is the biggest risk factor. When we anticipate lightning striking the ground near us, assume the “lightning position” at the earliest, and hope that we are not struck.
Stay indoors when there is thunder and lightning around. Practice the simple Lightning Position.
Please do share the above info sheet developed by the Tata Trusts, with your family, friends and colleagues. And do suitably translate and convey verbally to guide those around you who will benefit from it, especially to your building gardener, handymen, assistants, security guards, housekeeping staff.