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April 17, 1954


JAMA. 1954;154(16):1353. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02940500033017

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Last summer a man was killed by lightning while leaning against a tree along a creek where there were many other trees. The question has been asked whether leaning against a tree increases its attraction for lightning. While human beings are better conductors of electricity than dry wood, if the exterior of a tree trunk is wet, it may be a better conductor. At the beginning of a thunder-storm the trunk may not be wet because the leaves will protect it from the rain for a while.

One of the safest places during a lightning storm is in some metal enclosure, such as an automobile with a metal top, a steel railway coach, or a steel building. A dangerous place during a lightning storm is in the middle of a field away from all trees or in a wooden boat in a large expanse of water. In a residential area,

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