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Family Safety > Possibly a silly question . . .
Snapdragon's Avatar Snapdragon 07:03 AM 03-15-2012

sorry if this is a silly question I am just interested in others' thoughts on this. I am working through a fear of lightining. It is a big thing for me. I am trying to understand how it works so as to be less afraid, reading about it and discussing it at length with dh to try to figure out how I am actually pretty safe in my house during a lightning storm.

so on another note, I am looking to get a swingset and maybe abackyard climber for almost 2 yr old ds.

without thinking about the connection  yesterday I ordered a very simple inexpensive metal swing set and a metal dome climber. Last night I was thinking about it and did a tiny bit of internet research and realized that for someone like me, who is highly aware of trying to feel safe in a lightning storm, having 2 metal play structures in my somewhat open yard may actually attract lightning to the yard! I cancelled the order.

Now I am thinking about it and wondering what you think? I know millions of people have metal play sets in their yards and are fine. but realistically there is a connection between having metal in the yard and attracting lightnin, right? Just wondering as even the most basic wooden set is expensive- perhaps I will look into used wooden sets. Thoughts?



DahliaRW's Avatar DahliaRW 10:55 AM 03-15-2012

Even if lightening strikes metal playsets, it won't hurt you, unless you're on them, in which case that's a silly thing to be doing in a storm!  Yes, you are very safe in your house during a lightening storm.

 

Your odds of being struck by lightning are 1 in 1 million.  The odds of you being killed in a car accident in your lifetime is 1 in 140, for some perspective. 

 

If you're feeling particularly anxious over lightning, you might want to get some counseling to help your anxiety.


Snapdragon's Avatar Snapdragon 04:27 PM 03-15-2012

thanks Dahlia. I was a wreck of anxiety last summer with all the lightning. This year I expect more abundance of lightning so I am trying to prepare myself and gain knowledge to comfort myself with! I think my fear is of the lightning striking something- a tree, the ground, the house, - and me getting a huge electrical jolt from it by touching a wall or a floor or a window or a door or whatever- so that is some of my fear. I did read that the actual metal structures can attract the lighting but I am not sure about that. Of course I would never be on them but there is also this thing where sometimes the lightning comes even before the storm is overhead. so there in contributes to my fear of getting a jolt from it striking smething else. I did actually get a small jolt once at the very early start of a storm- from the ground- though I was outside next to a tree- but the thunder was just in the distance. Ever since then- lots of fear of lightning! I am determined to get more comfortable with it this year- I have to!- by educating myself on how it works more.


colsxjack's Avatar colsxjack 07:39 PM 03-15-2012

Metal objects do not attract lightning. So having metal climbing equipment in your yard will not make your yard more likely to be struck by lightning. Metal does conduct electricity...meaning the electricity will travel over it. So if you are touching the metal equipment when it is struck, the electricity will go through you. But since the climbing structure is so small, you would get struck no matter what it was made out of if you happened to be touching it at the time.

 

Holding metal objects, like umbrellas or golf clubs, will also not make you more likely to be struck by lightning.

 

Metal conducting electricity is also the reason why being in a metal roofed car, with the windows rolled up, is a safe place during a lightning storm. If the car is struck, the lightning will course through the metal and not into the car.

 

Ways to keep yourself safe in a lightning storm:

If you hear thunder, there is lightning even if you do not see it.

get inside a shelter. The shelter should have wiring, plumbing or a lightning rod. This will conduct the electricity so it does not go through the shelter. A picnic shelter is not a good shelter in a storm.

 

Do not stand under a tree.

Do not stand in an open area.

Do not go swimming.

 

Because the wiring or plumbing will conduct the electricity in the event the structure is hit, do not talk on a land line phone or take a shower/do dishes during a lightning storm.

 

 

Sitting and watching tv is fine.

Using a computer that is NOT plugged in is fine

listening to the radio is fine

watching the storm out the window is fine

Being inside a vehicle with a metal roof is fine

 

All of these things are fine and you will be safe from lightning.

 


colsxjack's Avatar colsxjack 07:40 PM 03-15-2012

Hopefully that makes you feel better and not more freaked out.

 


Cyllya's Avatar Cyllya 07:42 PM 03-15-2012

You'll want to check with someone who knows more about lightning than me in order to get confirmation on this, but I think having a metal playset which attracts lightning would actually be a good thing because that'll keep the lightning from hitting trees or your house or something where it's actually going to do some damage.


Snapdragon's Avatar Snapdragon 08:39 PM 03-15-2012

colsxjack- that does help!! thanks smile.gif


alittlesandy's Avatar alittlesandy 12:18 PM 03-17-2012

Snapdragon, I have this same fear! My biggest struggle with it has been that everyone else thinks lightning is no big deal. However, my counselor said, "It's actually not unhealthy to be wary of going outside or avoiding electrical appliances during a storm." She reassured me that the only time a healthy fear becomes a true phobia is when it hinders us from living a normal life when the threat is not real.

 

I do agree that you should reassure yourself that a metal playset will NOT attract lightning.

 

I saw a Mythbusters episode about lightning, and after it was over they concluded that would not want to take a shower or use the phone during a storm, which made me feel so much better. I made DH watch because he makes fun of me for these things, and he was surprised that there was an actual danger. Colsxjack gives very good advice!


Skippy918's Avatar Skippy918 08:59 AM 03-18-2012
I hate lightning storms too. I'm more afraid of my house catching fire from a lightning strike.
I heard the reason you are safe in a car is because the car is not grounded. It acts like a faraday cage.
Snapdragon's Avatar Snapdragon 09:24 AM 03-18-2012

so now I am going back and forth-! I found this really cute swingset for 129 dollars- complete with three swings a slide and a seesaw. I cancelled the order but am debating or re ordering. If I DO get it- should I put it not  right next to the house or is it really a non issue regarding lightning? We have this one spot I was going to put it where we can sit on a deck and watch ds play but it is right net to the house- a little flat spot before a hill- or we could put it farther. I did see a 200 used wooden one on craigslist but it was on the other side of the state- should I just get the metal one?

I also wanted to get this cute metal climbing dome. On a clear day it all seems fun but when it is a storm I may wish I hadn't- not sure!


alittlesandy's Avatar alittlesandy 09:32 AM 03-18-2012

It is not an issue regarding lightning. Your house is a much bigger draw than the swingset. Your house is actually framed with metal and filled with metal plumbing, which means if it gets struck it pulls lightning through the house and into the ground. This is a good thing, as long as you aren't in the bath or shower if lightning strikes your house.


ollyoxenfree's Avatar ollyoxenfree 09:55 AM 03-18-2012


Quote:
Originally Posted by colsxjack View Post

Metal objects do not attract lightning. So having metal climbing equipment in your yard will not make your yard more likely to be struck by lightning. Metal does conduct electricity...meaning the electricity will travel over it. So if you are touching the metal equipment when it is struck, the electricity will go through you. But since the climbing structure is so small, you would get struck no matter what it was made out of if you happened to be touching it at the time.

 

Holding metal objects, like umbrellas or golf clubs, will also not make you more likely to be struck by lightning.

 

Metal conducting electricity is also the reason why being in a metal roofed car, with the windows rolled up, is a safe place during a lightning storm. If the car is struck, the lightning will course through the metal and not into the car.

 

Ways to keep yourself safe in a lightning storm:

If you hear thunder, there is lightning even if you do not see it.

get inside a shelter. The shelter should have wiring, plumbing or a lightning rod. This will conduct the electricity so it does not go through the shelter. A picnic shelter is not a good shelter in a storm.

 

Do not stand under a tree.

Do not stand in an open area.

Do not go swimming.

 

Because the wiring or plumbing will conduct the electricity in the event the structure is hit, do not talk on a land line phone or take a shower/do dishes during a lightning storm.

 

 

Sitting and watching tv is fine.

Using a computer that is NOT plugged in is fine

listening to the radio is fine

watching the storm out the window is fine

Being inside a vehicle with a metal roof is fine

 

All of these things are fine and you will be safe from lightning.

 


Great post with good advice.  

 

I don't know if it will make you feel better or worse, but I was hit by lightening once. It must have been a very small strike and I suspect much of it was conducted away by other, taller objects in the vicinity. Other than a bad jolt, I was fine - not even a burn. I was walking in a storm and carrying an umbrella at the time. I hope that's reassuring, rather than frightening, to you. 

 

I'm a little more cautious now but I still enjoy being out in the rain (but not thunderstorms) and watching storms (from a safe place).   

 

 


colsxjack's Avatar colsxjack 05:56 PM 03-18-2012

The metal swing set and dome will not attract lightning any more than any other swing set in your yard.

Metal does not attract lightning. However, if your yard is a field, with the swing set being the tallest thing in it, there is more chance. Although it probably is not as tall as your house. Not a guarantee that lightning will not strike your swingset. But it would have anyway, no matter what materials it is made from.

 

Lightning is a huge force. It happens because the negative and positive energy within the cloud separates with the negative energy being pushed to the bottom of the cloud and the positive energy being pushed to the top of the cloud. That negative energy is a huge force pushing. The clouds disequalibrium changes the energy of things around it. The negative energy in the ground pushes down while the positive energy pushes/stays up.

 

Now the negative energy of the cloud is attracted to the positive energy of the ground. The positive energy of the ground pushes up a bit off the ground, attracts the negative energy in a storm cloud and LIGHTNING happens. This brings the cloud back to equilibrium for a bit.

 

That is why lightning seems to be attracted to taller things. Like trees, houses, buildings, picnic shelters, etc. The positive energy pulls up off the ground and things on the ground, so chances are the tallest or taller things have positive energy pushing up closer to the negative energy from the cloud.

 

If lightning is going to strike near to you, you will most likely feel the energy. Your hair on your arms and head may stand up and be staticy. If you are out in a storm and you feel your hair stand on end, curl up in a ball or run to your car.


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