The Star - Wednesday March 3, 2010
Expert: Don’t take lightning lightly
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is the country with the second highest number of lightning strikes in the world – but Malaysians are still not wary of its dangers, according to an American lightning expert.
“Your country records double the number of thunderstorms than Florida, which gets an average of about 90 thunderstorms daily.
“Lightning is considered the worst natural killer, causing at least 25,000 deaths worldwide each year.
“This is no laughing matter,” Richard Kithil Jr, chairman of the US’ National Lightning Safety Institute (NSLI) told a media briefing yesterday.
The event was organised by the Centre of Excellence on Lightning Protection (CELP) at Universiti Putra Malaysia to promote research, application and education on lightning.
Kithil said no place was safe from lightning. “Only large buildings and fully enclosed vehicles can provide safety,” he cautioned.
“CELP’s aim is to encourage lightning precaution as part of occupational safety and to create awareness among the public,” said Kithil, who is CELP’s advisory committee. He said it was “not amusing” when sport authorities gave wrong safety advice.