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Man 'blown out of shoes' by lightning

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Digital writers
theweathernetwork.com

Monday, June 23, 2014, 9:25 AM - An Atlanta man is lucky to be alive after a lightning strike literally blew him out of his shoes.

Sean O'Connor says he was getting ready to do some yard work on Saturday afternoon. The sun was out and he couldn't see or hear any thunder or lightning.


SEE ALSO: Lightning injures golfers in southern Ontario


"Just as I picked up the rake, I heard a loud crashing sound," O'Connor said. "A few moments later I was picking myself up off the ground. I had the taste of blood in my mouth. I noticed my leg was burning a little bit."

Since O'Connor was home alone, he said it took him a while to realize what had happened.

"I looked across the driveway and I could see my boots over there. They were no longer on my feet, and one of them was smoking. At that point I realized I had just been hit by lightning."

After calling his wife and shooting a short video on his phone, O'Connor went to the emergency room where doctors kept him overnight to monitor his irregular heart beat.

O'Connor considers himself lucky, especially after doctors told him very few lightning victims survive to tell the story like he did.

Here are some tips that can help keep you safe, courtesy of The Weather Network and the Canadian Red Cross:

INDOOR LIGHTNING SAFETY TIPS

  • Stay away from windows.
  • Unplug appliances.
  • Do not use the telephone.
  • Avoid running tap water.

OUTDOOR LIGHTNING SAFETY TIPS

  • Try to reach a safe building or vehicle (Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are NOT safe).
  • Avoid high ground, water, tall, isolated trees and metal objects such as fences or bleachers.
  • If you are out on the water, get to land and find shelter immediately.

IF SOMEONE IS STRUCK BY LIGHTNING

  • Call for help / dial 911.
  • The injured person has received an electrical shock and may be burned or have other injuries.
  • People who have been struck by lightning do not retain an electrical charge and can be handled safely.
  • Give first aid. If the heart has stopped beating, a trained person should give CPR.

Environment Canada offers a 30-30 rule as well. They say if you can count 30 seconds or less between seeing a lightning flash and hearing the thunder, take shelter and stay there until 30 minutes after you last hear thunder. 

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