Ministry of Public Health cautions people not to use cellphones during a thunderstorm


BANGKOK, 13 May 2014  – The Ministry of Public Health has warned Thais nationwide of the risk of getting struck by a lightning if they use their cellphones during a thunderstorm.

Permanent-Secretary for the Ministry of Public Health Dr. Narong Sahametaphat has told the public to refrain from using cell phones, house phones, or even the Internet during a thunderstorm. He stated that the phones would channel electrical currents from the lightning bolt towards the user.

Should one happen to be outside during a thunderstorm, she/he is to take precautionary measures such as avoid standing under trees, refrain from using umbrellas, and prevent any physical contact against metallic objects, Dr. Narong advised.

According to the doctor, 180 people have reportedly been hit struck by lightnings, 46 of whom have died, in the past five years. The permanent-secretary said that of all the casualties, 46 percent of them were farmers, closely followed by students at 40 percent, and labor at 9 percent. Most of these accidents took place between 2PM and 5PM.