Safety and protection aspects of lightning play an important role in preventing human, livestock and economic losses in countries with high ground flash density. Africa, South and South East Asia, and South America can be rated as the regions with the highest lightning impacts in the world. Despite one of the most lethal killers and destroyers of nature, what is the true perception of lightning safety in the standpoint of governments and public of these highly affected regions? The answer to this question is essential in understanding various aspects of this field such as planning future research, strategizing business plans, re-modulating the scientific and professional struggle against systems that have been rejected by major standards, developing models to take the lightning protection and safety into root layers of the society etc.
In contrast to the public perception on electrical safety, fire safety, fall safety, chemical safety etc., the same on lightning safety is insignificant asa matter of concern in most parts of the world. Interestingly, the awareness of correct lightning safety and protection techniques is quite poor even among the electrical engineering communities and commercial sector on lightning protection business itself. This lack of awareness may facilitate fraudulent system manufacturers to deceive the public as any person without a sound knowledge on lightning protection could not discriminate right product from wrong.
At the administrative level, issues on lightning safety have been totally overlooked in almost every safety guidelines in both government and non-governmental sectors. This is true for both the developing as well as developed countries. It is interesting to note that the Occupational Safety and Health Act published by many countries do not even mention about Lightning Safety and Related issues.
The above outcomes describe evidently the non-proactive perspectives of the state, professional and academic bodies on lightning related risks. Several research reported in the past attributed such observations to the lack of awareness and educational programs on lightning safety among the public and urge the escalation of such programs. However, it is a substantial question that who should be responsible for the low public awareness of lightning safety and protection in many tropical countries. Several prominent scientists at the top level have attributedthis situation to the negligence from state level to recognize lightning and thunderstormsas a serious natural extreme event that disrupts public life.As the lightning related scientific community views, a feasible solution will be the incorporation of lightning safety strategies into national disaster mitigation frameworks, roadmaps, guidelines and policy documents.
In order to discuss various issues on the above subject, the Centre for Science and Technology of the Non-Aligned and Other Developing Countries (NAM S&T Centre), New Delhi;in partnership with the Center of Excellence on High Voltage Engineering (CEHVE), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg;South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE), Lightning Chapter;and Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), Pretoria, South Africa, announces the organization of a comprehensive two-daysInternational Roundtable on‘PolicyDevelopment in Lightning Hazard Mitigating Strategies in Countries with High Ground Flash Density’during11-12 May, 2021. The Roundtable will be hosted by CEHVE, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and will be organizedinVirtual-Mode.