A lightning strike killed at least 16 people and injured many more in Jaipur in northern India on Sunday. The victims were taking selfies in the rain on top of a watch tower at the city’s 12th Century Amer Fort, a popular tourist attraction.
At least 65 people were killed by lightning strikes and thunderstorms in the north indian states Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, authorities said.In the city of Jaipur in Rajasthan, 23 died after lightning hit Amer Fort — a popular tourist spot on the outskirts of the city, according to Shankar Lal Saini, a senior disaster management official in Jaipur.
Follow these rules to keep yourself and your family safe from a potentially deadly lightning strike.
1. Indoors is best
If you hear thunder, it’s time to go inside, the National Weather Service Says, don’t wait until you see lightning. Thunder from lightning strikes can be heard up to 10 miles away and some storms travel quickly. Stay inside for at least 30 minutes after the last of the thunder fades.
When you get inside:
- Stay away from windows and don’t use corded landline phones, computers or any other electronics that put your body in direct contact with an electrical current.
- Avoid plumbing fixtures like faucets and stay out of the shower and bath.
- Don’t lie or sit on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls.
2. If you’re caught outside, take steps to lower the risk
The National Weather Service Warns there is no place outdoors that’s safe from lightning strikes. However, if you’re caught outside in a thunderstorm, there are a few things you can do to lower your chances of being struck by lightning:
- Stay away from elevated areas like hilltops and dunes.
- Don’t take shelter under isolated trees or stand near utility poles.
- If you’re in a forest, shelter under a stand of shorter trees.
- If you’re in a group, spread out. Lightning can arc from person to person.
- Stay out of bodies of water like ponds and lakes.
- Avoid metal objects that can conduct electricity, like metal fencing.
3. Take proper precautions if you’re in a vehicle
If you’re caught in a severe storm while driving, it’s always a good idea to get off the road until the storm passes. It’s better to shelter inside a sturdy building, but a fully-enclosed, metal vehicle like a car or truck can protect you from lightning strikes.
Follow these safety rules if you’re in a vehicle during a thunderstorm:
- Don’t touch any metal objects inside the vehicle, including door handles and metal interior trim
- Keep your hands away from the car’s electronics. In a lightning strike, a portion of the electricity can find its way into a vehicle’s electrical system. That’s bad for your car’s stereo, but worse for you if you happen to be adjusting the volume when the lightning hits.
- Don’t take shelter in a convertible, even if the top is up. A vehicle must be fully enclosed in metal to protect you from lightning. An open vehicle with rubber tires, like a motorcycle, provides no protection from a lightning strike.
4. Make sure your home is protected from lightning
To prevent injury and fires from lightning strikes on your home, consider installing a lightning rod or a complete lightning protection system.
A lightning rod is used to intercept a lightning strike and conduct electricity safely into the ground. A lightning protection system prevents lightning from damaging your home’s electrical and plumbing systems, potentially saving you thousands in damage to electronics and appliances.
When installing a lightning protection system, the National Weather Service recommends making sure the system follows all standards set by the Lightning Protection Institute, National Fire Protection Association, and Underwriters Laboratories.
5. A lightning strike victim needs immediate medical attention
Only about 10% of lightning strikes are fatal. If a person is struck by lightning, their chances of surviving increase significantly if they receive immediate medical attention, according to the centers for Disease Control.
If someone has been struck by lightning:
- Provide first aid immediately. A human body does not retain an electrical charge after a lightning strike.
- The primary cause of death from a lightning strike is cardiac arrest. If the victim of a lightning strike is not breathing, perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
- If the victim does not have a pulse, begin CPR. Use an external defibrillator if one is available. Continue CPR efforts until help arrives.