(NORFOLK COUNTY, ON) - The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Norfolk County Detachment is reminding anyone who works outdoors or is caught outdoors during a lightning storm to take immediate cover. The OPP is also warning parents and caregivers of young children not to allow them to play outside in the warm rain during an electrical storm.
On Saturday, July 11, 2020, at approximately 7:35 a.m., OPP and Norfolk County Paramedic Services responded to a St Williams, Norfolk County address for a report of an individual that had been struck by lightning.
It was determined that a 49-year-old resident was working outside and clearing the gutters on their home when they were struck by lightning. Officers and paramedics arrived on scene and located the person who refused medical treatment.
Every year in Canada, 6-10 people are killed and another 150-160 persons are injured as a result of lightning strikes according to Environment Canada. Everyone needs to have a safety plan in place regarding electrical storms and review it annually. Having a safety plan will help to reduce risk and injury caused by lightning.
There is no safe place to be outside. If you can hear thunder, it is your warning that you are within striking distance of lightning. Immediately go to a well-constructed building or a fully-enclosed metal top vehicle. Do not run under a tree or to a shelter that isn't grounded such as; a covered picnic shelter, carport, tent, baseball dugout, as well as other non-metal buildings (sheds and greenhouses).
If you are caught out in the open remember that lightning generally strikes higher ground and prominent objects. Therefore you are encouraged to take shelter in low-lying areas such as valleys or ditches but watch for flooding.
If you are with a group of people in an open area such as a soccer pitch or other venue, spread out, crouch down on the balls of your feet immediately, with your feet together, place your arms around your knees and bend forward. Be the smallest size possible and minimize your contact with the ground. Don't lie flat!
The OPP continually works with our Community Partners to help promote safety. Lightning is extremely dangerous and caution must always be exercised to prevent injury and death. Safety doesn't happen by accident.