Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Here's Your Birthday Present, Scott

Scott O'Day, who sells electrical equipment for a living, had some frightening first-hand experience with electricity. Scott and his wife Tucker went for a walk on a beach just before they planned to go to dinner to celebrate his 49th birthday. They heard the thunder start rolling, turned to walk back, and shortly after heard a loud “boom.” Scott was hit by lightning.

“When I got struck I got knocked out of my shoes and was thrown 4 or 5 feet forward,” Scott said.

Got knocked out of his shoes. I have a hard time understanding how that can happen, but I’ve never been hit by lightning. Got pretty close once, much too close, but no damage and kept my shoes on.

There’s a lot of electricity in those long, jagged lines; lots of volts and lots of amps. It’s not something I’d like going in one end and out the other. My guess is that most people literally don’t know what hit them; those who survive might not remember and just wake up later with the feeling that something really wrong just happened.

Lightning goes where it wants, but is fairly predictable. You are safer some distance from a tree’s roots, perhaps ok a bit closer to a telephone pole’s power transformers. Talking on a cellphone or cordless phone is perfectly safe; standing next to an AM radio station tower is not – they generally do not attract lightning unless it is desperate for something to hit.


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