StrikeAlert Personal Lightning Detector


June 4, 2004

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The StrikeAlert is a belt-worn pager-sized lightning detector which can detect lightning up to 70 kilometres away, tell you how far away each strike is, and whether it's coming towards you or not. Each year 10 Australians and 100 Americans die from lightning strikes - quite clearly, the world's first personal lightning detector could save many lives.

That old saying about the chances of an event occurring being about as likely as getting hit by lightning is very misleading. Around the earth there are 100 lightning strikes per second, or 8.6 million strikes a day. Strangely, you'd think that if you got hit by lightning, which varies in voltage between 100 million and one billion volts and reaches 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (fours times as hot as the sun's surface), you'd be toast for sure, but that's not the case because only 20% of all lightning victims die from the strike.

Just the same, being hit by lightning is definitely not good for your health so if you're a sailor (with one of those lightning attracting metallic masts), or you're walking in a vast treeless area, it helps to know if there's lightning around so you can minimise the risk.

Until now, knowing if lightning was around was a bit hit and miss, because you can't always see it. The StrikeAlert, by Outdoors Technologies, is a small and affordable lightning detector that provides an early warning of approaching lightning strikes from as far away as 70 kilometres and lets you know if the storm is coming your way.

An audible alarm sounds when there's a strike and a corresponding LED light illuminates accordingly at lightning distances of 20-40 miles, 12-24 miles, 6-12 miles and within six miles. The detector is housed in a small pager-like casing that can be clipped on a belt loop and runs on a single AA battery.

It's perfect for outdoor sporting events and activities and sells for AUD $137.50 The StrikeAlert has only been available in Australia since October but has proven to be very popular in its short time at market with road workers, sailing clubs, mining companies and those who are regularly at risk.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, (Australia's largest Telco), (Australia's largest employment site),,, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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