Tag Archives: lightning strike

National Lightning Awareness Week: June 24-30, 2012

As National Lightning Awareness Week (June 24-30, 2012) continues, A Flash of Light urges all property owners to take extra precautions. While Mother Nature may be unpredictable, there are ways to reduce the chances of lightning-related destruction.

One way, according to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), is to install a whole-house/building surge protector. Lightning protection systems are designed to protect a structure and provide a specified path to harness and safely ground the super-charged current of a lightning bolt; they will not protect against a direct strike. The system works by receiving the strike and routing it harmlessly into the ground.

Other recommendations from IBHS include:

  • Unplug electronic equipment.
  • Know the important difference between a surge suppressor and a power strip. A power strip plugs into your wall outlet and allows you to plug in multiple electronic devices. However, a power strip does not protect equipment from being damaged by a power spike. A surge protector also gives the user the ability to plug in multiple electronic devices, but it also serves another very important function in that it also protects your electronic devices from a power spike.
  • Connect telephone, cable/satellite TV and network lines to a surge suppressor.
  • Make sure the surge suppressor has an indicator light so you know it is working properly.
  • Ensure the surge suppressor has been tested.
  • Purchase a surge suppressor with a Joule rating of over 1,000. The Joule rating typically ranges from 200 up to several thousand – the higher the number the better.
  • Look for a surge suppressor with a clamping voltage rating (voltage at which the protector will conduct the electricity to ground) between 330 v, which is typical, to 400 v.
  • Purchase a surge suppressor with a response time less than 1 nanosecond.
  • Do not cut corners. You don’t want to protect a $1,000 television or computer system with a $10 surge protector, for $25 and up you can provide much better protection
  • Have a licensed electrician or home/building inspector review the power, telephone, electrical and cable/satellite TV connections to your office building/home.

For additional information, visit DisasterSafety.org/lightning.

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What I’m Reading

No matter what news source I’m reading, my brain and eyes immediately register “lightning strike.” It’s without fail the first click I make with my mouse. Today, I stumbled upon an article titled “Edwards County man struck by lightning while sleeping” featured on KSAT.com, which was featured CNN U.S.‘s homepage.

Apparently, Cheval Silva was struck by lightning while soundly sleeping in his house. The article reads, “A bolt of lightning had come through the roof and struck his shoulder and exited his foot, catching both him and his favorite chair on fire.”

Luckily for Silva, and his granddaughter who was sleeping nearby and unharmed, he only sustained some nerve damage.

Articles such as this have been featured on the blog from time to time. They always get me thinking why some live while others die from a lightning strike. There’s no rhyme or reason…the only comfort I’ve received, to this day, is to think those who have died from a lightning strike had bigger plans in store “upstairs.” Yup, I’m going with that.

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In Memory of Ryan Snutch

In Memory of Ryan Snutch
Dec. 22, 1984 – Sept. 4, 2011

It’s not everyday that this blogger gets contacted by a “fan.” Most recently, I was contacted by Kayla Jane, the sister of Ryan Snutch. In speaking back and forth with Kayla Jane, I came to hear the unfortunate and heartbreaking story of her older brother. For lack of the inability to write Snutch‘s story better than Macleans Magazine, a Canadian publication, has done. I am providing it, with credit, below.

I thank Kayla Jane for seeking me out and allowing me the opportunity to honor a man that I can truly say I wish I had the chance to meet. Kayla Jane, please keep in touch. We’re connected now… R.I.P. Ryan Snutch, may your legacy live on.

Ryan Snutch

He was selfless, always helping others. As a child he never pressured his parents for toys, even when all his friends had Nintendo.
by Alex Ballingall on Wednesday, October 5, 2011 10:40am

Ryan Snutch was born in Ottawa on Dec. 22, 1984, six weeks sooner than expected. In the early hours of the morning, Ryan’s mother Kitty went into labour and was whisked off to the hospital by her husband, Don, leaving their house full of family and friends. After all, it was three days before Christmas.

Born at that moment of happy togetherness, Ryan carried this sentiment to others in the early years of his life. As a baby, when it was time for bed, he couldn’t fall asleep without holding onto one of his parent’s fingers. “You had to sit there with your hand through the crib,” recalls Don. When his little sister Kayla was learning to speak, Ryan would “translate” on her behalf, telling Kitty and Don that he could understand her because he still knew “baby talk.”

A few years later, when Ryan was in Grade 3, Don showed up at Ryan’s school for a volunteer appreciation day. He was approached by a woman who vigorously shook his hand and thanked him “for raising such a good boy.” Apparently, the woman’s son, who was in kindergarten, was dejectedly playing by himself one day. Defying all playground conventions of cool, Ryan veered away from his own friends to go join him. It was something that regularly happened as Ryan grew older: his parents learned much about Ryan’s good nature from the stories people would tell of his caring generosity. “People constantly come up to us and compliment us on our son,” says Don.

Ryan was also never one to press his parents for money or toys. When every other kid they knew had a Nintendo, Ryan never hassled his parents to get him one. “His needs weren’t great,” Don says, emphasizing that, even at a young age, Ryan appreciated the simple things in life—like quality time with loved ones. “He was very mature,” says Don. “Ryan was never ashamed to come up to his mother and give her a kiss and say ‘I love you.’ ”

At 15, Ryan became the first teenager to join the adult dart league, which was organized by his father. He was a natural. At dart tournaments, Don says Ryan was the only person who would pick a 57-year-old mentally challenged person to be on his team—every time. The two of them even won darts championships together. “This guy worshipped Ryan,” says Don.

Ryan was quick to make friends and easy to talk to. As his father puts it, “he could have made a great bartender.” Perhaps because of this, two of his friends from high school chose him to be the godfather of their respective children. Don says Ryan worked exceedingly hard to spend time with them every week—especially for Tristan, diagnosed early on with autism. Before he got his driver’s licence, Ryan would walk or take the bus—sometimes for over an hour—to see his godchildren.

In the summer of 2005, Ryan went to a music festival at the Whispering Pines campground, about 70 km east of Ottawa. That’s where he met RoseAnn Garde, whose parents ran the place. They were introduced by some mutual friends. “It was pretty much love at first sight,” RoseAnn remembers. And so Ryan started coming back regularly. Soon enough, they were going steady, and Ryan was heading out there almost every weekend, driving from work in the city.

On Jan. 25, 2010, Ryan and RoseAnn had a baby. They named him Julian. “They look so much alike—his laugh, his giggle, even his smile,” says RoseAnn. Everyone could tell that Julian meant the world to his father. RoseAnn’s mom Eileen remembers Julian scampering through the woods at the campground, screaming “Daddy!” when Ryan would turn up after a brief absence. “It was so beautiful,” she says.

This Labour Day weekend, Ryan, RoseAnn and Julian spent the holiday with family and friends at Whispering Pines. Early that Sunday, storm clouds dragged across the morning sky, bringing thunder and rain as the three of them slept in a tent nestled within a grove of evergreen trees. In that moment of togetherness, a bolt of lightning flashed into their tent, entering Ryan’s body with a deafening crack. Instinctively, Ryan pushed RoseAnn to get her away from danger. With electricity coursing through him, his hand left a burned imprint on her back—the shadow of his last act of love. Ryan was rushed to hospital, where he died soon thereafter. He was 26.

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Afghanistan Veteran Gets Struck and Lives to Tell Tale

An Afghanistan veteran in Montville, Conn. is lucky to be alive today.

The victim said the lightning entered his body through his left hand an exited out his right foot. (Source: wtnh.com)

“He is a tough guy, like I said he did a year in Afghanistan, he comes home and gets struck by lightning, what are the odds,” says Brandi Naholnik. (‘Montville man struck by lightning lives,’ Tina Detelj of wtnh.com)

Read his amazing lightning strike story here: http://www.wtnh.com/dpp/news/new_london_cty/montville-man-struck-by-lightning-lives?ref=scroller&categoryId=10001&status=true&hpt=us_bn4.

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Death Does Not Claim A Friendship – It Changes It

True friends are few and far in between, which makes losing them to death even more difficult. Four years ago, I lost my dear friend, Lee Weisbrod, to Mother Nature – a lightning strike. The hardest thing about losing a friend is not recalling the memories nor is it longing to hear their voice. Perhaps the hardest thing about losing a friend is keeping a sense of calm while maintaining your friend’s memory and re-adjusting the friendship. Death ultimately does not claim a friendship – it changes it. That in itself is a lesson that took me years to realize and ultimately accept.

Paul and My Dad on June 5, 2010

Recently, my father lost his best friend Paul Hanley. The two were best buds since childhood and all throughout their adult lives. Literally The Best Man in my father’s life, Paul died from a long fought battle with cancer – one I am proud to say he fought well. While my father and Paul were separated most of their adult lives by a minimum of six hours by car, the two chatted on the phone from time-to-time and even shot back a text message or two most recently. (Yes, my dad is a beginner in the texting world!)

My Dad and Paul in August 2008

I’m sure my father has lost some people in his 48 years of life; however, this loss does not compare. It is a loss I know well…

This weekend, my family and I will be making the drive to Maine to say our final goodbye to Paul as he enters his final resting place. For his sake, I hope there is a Harley Davidson, some pretty women and dogs that need rescuing awaiting his arrival.

RIP PAUL JOSEPH HANLEY
02.07.62 – 08.21.10

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Girlfriend Killed By Lightning Minutes Before Proposal

While stumbling around on the Internet, I came across the love story of Richard Butler and Bethany Lott. It’s a remarkable love story that knows no boundaries – even in death.

You see – Bethany Lott, 25, was struck by lightning while hiking with her boyfriend, Richard Butler. While enjoying two things she most likely loved the most – the nature and her boyfriend – Lott took a direct hit and ultimately passed.

According to Lott’s boyfriend, “her last words, about 30 seconds before it struck us, she turned to me and said, ‘God baby, look at it. Isn’t it beautiful?'”

I’ll give you a moment to grab your Kleenex.

Butler was planning on proposing to Lott during the hike.

Grab another Kleenex.

While this story pulls at my heart strings (and I’m sure yours), the most remarkable part is how Butler views living his life after experiencing such a tragedy. Being able to see beauty and love in the world around you so shortly after a tragedy is remarkable. It’s something I couldn’t do for some time.

Butler was quoted just days after losing his girlfriend in a news article stating, “I feel like it is my obligation to her to be as happy as I can be and be as productive with the rest of my life as can be and do as much good as she would’ve done if she could have.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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What Does It Feel Like To Be Struck By Lightning

The lucky few that have lived to tell their lightning strike tales describe getting struck by lightning in numerous ways.

Savannah Vowers, a 14-year-old girl from Littleton, Colorado who was struck recently while washing her mother’s truck, described getting struck by lightning as feeling like her “bones were crunching.”

Thirteen-year-old Connor Laughlin who was struck while holding an umbrella during a thunderstorm said being struck felt like ” a massive shock and it felt really sore as it was going through me. My legs buckled under me. It pushed me right over, the umbrella fell out of my hand and I hit the ground. It was like being hit by a truck and so loud.”

Other survivor stories can be found on The National Weather Service’s website at http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/survivors.htm.

What’s your survivor tale?

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