The dangers of carrying a selfie stick

  simonjary 06:11 07 Jul 2015
Locked

It seems that selfie sticks are a menace that take revenge on their users... "A walker who was killed by a bolt of lightning during a thunderstorm on the Brecon Beacons may have been struck because he was carrying a selfie stick." Telegraph report.

  Forum Editor 08:25 07 Jul 2015

Some of our contributors might be tempted to post an inappropriate response to this story - I hope they'll resist the temptation. On a mountain top a selfie-stick would make an ideal lightning conductor, as umbrellas and clubs can on golf-courses.

When my wife was younger she spent quite a lot of time travelling on the continent with friends. They were camping in the South of France once, and her tent was struck by lightning during the night. She woke up in hospital, suffering from shock, but not much else - she made a complete recovery, but was told she was lucky to be alive. The tent pole acted as a conductor, and was vaporised by the strike.

Fatalities from lightning strikes are very rare - each year in the UK between 30 and 60 people are struck, and of those an average of five die as a result. Statistically more men are struck than women - probably because men are more likely to be foolhardy (or unlucky enough) to be in a vulnerable location during a storm.

If you are unlucky enough to be caught outside when lightning is about, try to get inside a building, or inside a car (don't touch the car's bodywork). Stay away from metal structures and tall trees. If you are caught in an open, exposed place, and you suddenly feel your hair stand on end, there is about to be a lightning strike - drop to your knees, hunch over, and place your hands in your lap - do NOT lie flat on the ground.

  OTT_B 08:47 07 Jul 2015

FE, as a matter of interest, why not lie flat on the ground?

  kad292 09:11 07 Jul 2015

Lying on the ground used to be the advice decades ago but when lightning strikes the ground it induces currents which could travel up to 80/100 feet fanning out in all directions which could be fatal,so standing upright reduces the surface area should lightning strike a distance away from you.

  Belatucadrus 10:56 07 Jul 2015

Many hikers will be using the convenient cheap telescopic walking poles, these are also metal, longer than most selfie sticks and unless the chap was waving the stick in the air would appear a more likely target. Without proof that the stick was struck this "report" is just speculation.

  wee eddie 11:32 07 Jul 2015

Could this be a call to advise against metal walking poles and a return for the ash "Crummock" or, if you insist in joining the 21st Century, a Carbon Fibre walking cane.

  robin_x 13:02 07 Jul 2015

Carbon is a conductor too

=-=-=

Always crouch when at risk of lightning

Lying down may not be a good idea because the ground has some resistance and there may be a substantial voltage between your head and your feet

Remember the horses killed at Newbury by a faulty Mains Cable leaking current into the surrounding area? The voltage difference between front and back legs was sufficient

Also affects cows etc, humans not so much unless you have a giant stride

IEE Wiring Regs specify enclosures in fields to protect livestock in proximity to Ground Spikes/Stakes

You wouldn't think an Earthing System could kill would you?

  robin_x 13:11 07 Jul 2015

Also click here

  OTT_B 13:13 07 Jul 2015

robin_x makes perfect sense. Presumably, for those feeling more acrobatic, crouching down on one foot would help....

  Belatucadrus 14:06 07 Jul 2015

It should also be noted that there’s a device usually containing a metal rod that's far more commonly used in thunderstorms than selfie sticks, they're called umbrellas.

I don't rate the journalism of this piece at all

"*may have been struck because he was carrying a selfie stick, it has been claimed.* "

May, by whom and on what evidence ? No attribution and no evidence, It looks to be total guesswork and scaremongering.

  bumpkin 21:15 07 Jul 2015

The risks of being struck by lightning while using a selfie needs to be put into perspective. Those that use earphones oblivious to the outside world and walk into the road without even looking and those with mobile phones glued to their ears seems to put the chances by comparison of being struck by lightning whilst carrying a selfie very low in my listing of chances to be injured or killed.

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