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“Strike-Alert products are popular for recreational, sports groups, storm enthusiasts, and industrial organisations when outdoors.  The HD3000 model is mainly used by industries where there is a lot of conductivity such as building construction sites, open cut mines and large machinery working where damp conditions prevail.  The LD1000 model is mainly a recreational device.” Burstall said.

StrikeAlert HD - Personal Lightning Detector
He explained that  strikes are more likely in the mining and building industries  on site and where mining for minerals is in damp conditions including  those involved in sluicing . This is very attractive to lightning seeking a negative area to dispense its high voltage energy and the HD3000 will alert the user of any disturbance, cyclonic or otherwise he said.

Both models are around the same size as a Smartphone, The HD3000 has a spontaneous graphical display allowing the operators to visually see the lightning strike distance and the one hour storm trend: it tracks lightning in all directions (360degrees) and has the option of either an audible or vibrate warning before, during and when lightning is in striking distance.  The device also has LED indicators that light up accordingly at distances from 64km down to within 10km. There is also the option of selecting the unit to close after 2 hours if there have been no lightning detections. Burstall said it has generated a lot of interest in the mineral mining industry. “I know there has been considerable interest in the coal and mineral mining fields – gold and otherwise – pretty much for all the minerals for this type of alert mechanism.

Because lightning cannot be prevented it has emphasised the importance of gathering important intelligence to protect workers on open sites. It’s a safety precaution at a top level – against any fatality or damage that can occur personally and otherwise where ever that person may be. There are also horrendous sound and pressure waves created by these strikes that can damage people, fragile machinery and instruments” - he explained.

In addition, he identified steps operators can take to minimise getting struck by lightning, such as avoiding open and high ground, water, metallic objects, solitary trees and when in mechanised vehicles to ensure they close the windows and doors and are sitting in a non-metallic environment inside the vehicle.

Strike Alert - Personal Lightning Detector
Moving on – the three models which include an electronics state of art weather station by the international

La Crosse brand which incorporates a  lightning strike facility as part of a larger product stable distributed by Tesa Electronics Pty Ltd.  Also included in their stable are their BSAFE brand of non-battery required (dynamo operated) safety devices so necessary in all natural disasters because of power outages, floods and loss of battery powered communication equipment including Smartphone’s.

What is lightning? It is a positive to negative electrical discharge at extremely high temperatures and voltage between clouds or cloud and ground. Lightning appears jagged, a flash in the sky and occasionally as a brilliant fiery ball. Thunder is the sound waves and is created by the explosive heating of air in the lightning channel.

Most lightning strikes occur at the beginning or end of a storm and the average strike length between clouds is 10km long and the distance from a cloud to the ground. It reaches up to 28,000 degrees Celsius – 4 times hotter than the sun and the voltage is between 100 million to 1 billion volts.

Around our planet there are 100 strikes per second or 9 million a day.  Statistically, 20% of victims die.  70% of survivors will suffer serious long term effects.  These injuries include memory & attention loss, chronic numbness, muscle spasms & stiffness hearing loss and depression.

Most lightning deaths and injuries involve people working outdoors and recreational activities such as Campers, Hikers, Skiers, fisherpersons, sports people and especially hunters. Most injuries and fatalities occur in the afternoon and people are especially vulnerable in open and remote terrain areas.

DID you know? Lightning is underrated as a risk as it usually claims only one or two victims at a time and does not cause massive damage or destruction except for forest and scrub fiery infernos. It kills more people on an annual basis than tornados, cyclones or winter storms.

Annually in the USA more than 10,000 forest fires are caused by lightning strikes.