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When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!
Lightning kills over 50 people in the U.S. each year. But deaths are only part of the lightning story. Only about 10% of those struck are killed; 90% survive. However, many of the survivors suffer devastating life-long injuries. These injuries are primarily neurological, with a wide range of symptoms, and are very difficult to diagnose. Lightning also causes over $5 billion of economic loss each year in the U.S. from fires and other property destruction.
Lightning strike frequencies are highest in the Southeast, Midwest, and the front ranges of the Rocky Mountains, but all states have some lightning threat. Fortunately, most lightning deaths and injuries can be easily avoided. Remember, no place outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area.
Public education is the key. The vast majority of lightning casualties can be easily avoided if people know what to do. Lightning Safety Awareness Week provides a good opportunity to learn about lightning safety. This year, the event is June 22-28, 2014.
If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike and you should immediate seek safe shelter in a substantial building or a vehicle with a metal top and sides. Stay there until 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder. If you are caught outside, don’t stay out in the open or near water, and never stand under a tall, isolated tree. If someone near you is struck by lightning and unresponsive or not breathing, immediately call 9-1-1 and administer CPR. Learn more at www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov
WHEN THUNDER ROARS, GO INDOORS!
Lightning kills over 50 people in the U.S. each year. It also inflicts devastating, life-long, debilitating injuries on many more. While lightning strike frequencies are highest in the Southeast, Midwest, and the front ranges of the Rocky Mountains, all states have some lightning threat. Fortunately, most of these lightning deaths and injuries can be easily avoided.
No place outside when thunderstorms are in the area. Use the weather forecast to plan your outdoor activities to avoid the threat. The forecast from your local National Weather Service office can be found through www.nws.noaa.gov. The safest place to be during a thunderstorm is inside a house or other fully enclosed building with wiring and plumbing. Once inside, stay away from corded telephones, electrical appliances and plumbing. Don’t watch lightning while standing near windows or in doorways.
If you can’t get to a house, a vehicle with a metal roof and metal sides is a good second choice. Don't wait for rain to go inside. As soon as you hear thunder, get to a safe place. Stay inside for 30 minutes or more after hearing the last thunder.
If you absolutely cannot get to a safe building or vehicle, at least move away from elevated places, open areas such as sports fields, beaches, golf courses, tall isolated objects like trees. Avoid water, swimming, boating, fishing and beaches. Do NOT go under trees to keep dry during a thunderstorm! For more information on lightning safety, visit www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.