Surviving a Thunderstorm
Camping can be as dangerous as it can be wonderful. There are so many things that can go wrong on a camping trip, many of them are way beyond your control; take, for instance, thunderstorms, there is no amount of planning that can amply circumvent such an event. Though you may not be able to control what happens, this does not mean that you can’t try to be prepared to handle it. Disasters can happen at any time and anywhere, it is how you deal with them that determines your survival!
When planning a camping trip, one of the most important things that you should do is to find out any information you can about your intended site; information is always one of the greatest weapons we can have. You should look for information that includes any hostile situations that are occurring in the area, but most of all, the weather forecast for the area. It would be ill-advised to go camping somewhere that is predicted to have bad weather, unless you are an adventure seeker, in that case, go right on ahead!
When you arrive at the camping site, you should take the time to study it thoroughly, use at least half an hour to map your surroundings mentally. Knowing your surroundings can save your life if something was to go wrong. You should memorize all landmarks and other places of interest; if you were being held hostage in your home, who better to plan an escape than you as you are an expert on the layout of your own home. Therefore, you should know your camping site as you do your own home, in case there is a need for a quick escape.
While on your trip, you should always monitor the weather. This means ensuring that you have a reliable means by which you can get weather reports. If you choose your cell phone to do the job, make sure that there is proper reception where you are so that this is possible, you should also ensure that your battery is well charged and that there is a spare one if necessary. If you are not sure about cell reception, it may be best to travel with a weather radio, this may prove to be a useful tool; just as with your cell phone, you should ensure that it is fully powered up.
It is also important for you to learn the language of weather. Things like differentiating between a ‘watch’ and a ‘warning’ may help you to decide the correct course of action; whether to pack up and leave or if to stay.
However, we all know that sometimes it doesn’t matter how careful we are, things still happen. Finding ourselves in a dangerous situation may still occur regardless of our efforts to avoid it. If you are so unlucky to be trapped during a thunderstorm while camping, there is still hope if you know how to keep yourself safe.
One of the most worrisome natural phenomena that should be feared is that of lightning! Though beautiful to look at, it is very dangerous, as I am sure you are well aware. The last thing you want to happen is for lightning to strike you. Being struck guarantees almost certain death, therefore if caught in a storm, you should try to get into any building that is close by for your protection. If there are no physical structures, you should get into your vehicle as quickly as you can and be mindful not to touch any part of it; for safety you should place your hands in your lap, to safeguard against any electricity being conducted to you. Whatever you do, refrain from seeking safety in your tent, it will offer you no protection from the lightning, it may end up being more hazardous than anything else.
If there are no buildings for you to go into or no vehicle, you should try to get as low as you can. Being the tallest object makes you a fine target for the lightning, but try not to be the lowest either; don’t lay down, you should squat so that if lightning strikes the ground, your entire body would not be exposed to it.
When caught in a thunderstorm, lightning may not be your only problem. There is also the possibility of flooding; flooding can be very dangerous, one minute you may be in your tent taking shelter from the rains, the next thing you know, you are afloat!
I suggest that whenever there are really heavy rains, you should try to get to a high point; you should avoid places where water naturally settles, like dried-up streams or natural waterways. Water tends to be a habitual force in that it will take up familiar courses when it starts to flow, therefore it is wise not to be in its path.
When trying to reach a higher point, you must remember never to step in the water. There is no way for you to know the depth of it. It may turn out to be much deeper than you think and you may end up falling in it and being carried away. Just as you shouldn’t walk through water, you shouldn’t attempt to drive through it either, your vehicle is not made to travel through water that is so deep, eighteen inches of water is far too much for a vehicle, and since you can’t judge how deep the water is, it may be safer for you to avoid water passages altogether so that you can quickly and safely get out of the area.
Thunderstorms are very dangerous, whether you are camping or if you are at home. Being as safe as possible can determine your survival. Most of the survival tips given are plain common sense, therefore, whenever you are placed in any troubling or dangerous situation and you are not sure what you should do, you should always go with your gut instincts.