Lightning Strikes


| 4 Comments


As a result of Tuesday's class, I decided to look into something that brings about risk.  Being struck by lightning is a common fear that results in the delaying of sporting events, golf game delays, and even forest fires.  For some people, the idea of being struck by lightning is a truly daunting fear and involves an ample amount of risk, but upon furthers examination that should not be the case at all, at least in my opinion. 

 

According to an article by National Geographic, the chances of a single person being struck by lightning in the United Sates in any one year is 1 in 700,000.  This is a very low chance; however, the chance of getting struck by lightning in the United States in your lifetime is 1 in 3,000 which is a pretty substantial increase in chance.  With that sad, when examining the risk of getting struck by lightning you must look into the aspects of exposure and hazard.

 

When looking into the actual percentage of getting struck by lightning in your life time it works out to about 0.0003.  The average amount of people that die from being struck by lightning per year is 84.  This works out to a percentage that is quite frankly too small to even be mentioned.  When calculating the overall risk, I took the 0.0003 (exposure) and multiplied it by the very minuscule hazard number.  Let's just say that the amount that was calculated has many, many zeroes in front of it.  This number with the many zeroes is the overall risk.

 

Through the examination of the article, I concluded two things: there is a very small risk of getting struck by lightning and dying and Americans have a poor understanding of what risk actually is.  Through my experiences, people seem to be more concerned about getting struck by lightning while in the shower than dying in a car crash which as we stated in class is a pretty high risk.  The idea of risk is something that is examined every day; however, the perceptions of it are often times far off.

Sources:


4 Comments

This was an interesting topic because although it's clearly not something to worry about, it is possible to happen. A kid in my high school a couple years ago actually died from getting struck by lightning. He was at senior week standing on the beach and he was surrounded by people, but was still the only one affected. It was weird, but interesting to think about.

This was a great blog to read. I feel that most people do not know the actual risk of anything "dangerous" or what risk actually is. I decided to search the web about the risk of getting struck by lightening on the beach because my uncle's best friend was struck and killed getting out of the water. I came across this http://strikeone.com.au/avoid/avoid.htm article and I found it pretty interesting !

In my experience, people are more markedly affected by dramatic retellings and anecdotes along the lines of, "I knew a man who was struck by lightning twice," then the math behind calculated risk assessment. This relates back, a little abstractly, admittedly, to the fallacy of false authority. The kind of people who spout stories of distant relatives narrowly avoiding death by lightning, having an averse reaction to a vaccine, etc are in no way qualified to make certain claims as to the frequency of an event without first looking at the numbers (those of which you provided). Despite the ridiculously small probability of getting struck, there are still sites that provide tips about lightning safety/symptoms: http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/medical.htm
This confuses me.

This blog caught my attention because I do have a fear of lightening. Whenever it starts to storm I immediately run for cover. I am not sure if this is what I am supposed to do but I do it anyways. A couple years ago my friend’s house was struck by lightening and there is a huge crack in her walls. Lighting is electricity striking the earth. The definition of lightening is, "the occurrence of a natural electrical discharge of very short duration and high voltage between a cloud and the ground or within a cloud, accompanied by a bright flash and typically also thunder". Electricity always goes to the tallest objects first such as trees, buildings, towers etc. I have always heard that going into a car while there is a storm is your safest bet. You are safer in a car because the metal body of the car can conduct electric better than you can. However, if the car gets struck by lightening a lot of electricity will be stored in the body of the car. I looked at an article of things you should not do when there is a lightening storm. One that I found interesting was that you should stay of phones that have cords because it is possible for the electricity to travel through the cord and shock you. Here is the link to the article I found.
http://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/natural-disasters/lightning8.htm

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