As the rainy season continues in most parts of the country, the general public has been urged to install lightening rods on their houses not only in urban areas.
This advice comes following various incidents of lightning strikes that have rocked the country in the past and have taken a number of lives and damaged property.
A recent incident according to police sources was in Murambi cell, Kaduha sector, Nyamagabe District, on January 29, where six people were struck by lightning and one of them Josephine Uwamahoro, a student in senior three at Groupe Scolaire Anibale died on spot.
Experts have advised that tall buildings, farmhouses and other structures susceptible to lightning strikes should be equipped with lightning rods.
The attachment of a grounded lightning rod to a building is a protective measure that is taken to protect the building and occupants in the event of a lightning strike.
The concept of a lightning rod was originally developed by Ben Franklin.
Franklin proposed that lightning rods should consist of a pointed metal pole that extends upward above the building that it is intended to protect.
He also suggested that a lightning rod protects a building by one of two methods. First, the rod serves to prevent a charged cloud from releasing a bolt of lightning. And second, the lightning rod serves to safely divert the lightning to the ground in event that the cloud does discharge its lightning via a bolt.
Franklin’s theories on the operation of lightning rods have been there for a couple of centuries until the most recent have scientific studies provided evidence to confirm the manner in which they operate to protect facilities from lightning attack.
Advice on how to avoid thunder strikes
- People become vulnerable to lightening when they are in open areas like fields, gardens, parking lots or under the tree. Here you are the tallest thing around, and the easiest target. Stay away from forms of metal.
- Lightning is electricity and metal is a conductor of electricity. So are you. You and the metal together make a fine target.
- Stop swimming and get away from water because water is a conductor.
- Don’t stand under tall objects like trees or unprotected towers. As tall objects, these are easy targets, and the electricity might jump to you too.
- Don’t carry an umbrella. You may get soaked if it starts raining, but it’s better than dying. Find a car and get in it. Cars are very safe places to be during lightning storms.
- Even though it is metal and seems like a perfect target, if it is struck the electricity will conduct through metal in the car, and around your body, not through it, and into the ground.
- If you get caught in an open field during a lightning storm, find a ditch to lie in if possible. If not, crouch down with your head between your knees (and don’t lie flat). Try to become as small as possible.