2012 Lightning Safety Awareness Week - June 24-30

 

 When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!

 

Summertime is upon Nebraska, when many people will be spending time outdoors, enjoying the warm weather.  Summer also means the peak season for one of the nation’s deadliest weather phenomena - Lightning.  Also known as the “Underrated Killer”, lightning kills a 30 year annual average of 55 people a year in the United States.  Many more  survive lightning strikes but suffer long lasting injuries and symptoms.  Lightning injuries in the United States which are documented average near 300 per year, but undocumented injuries are likely much higher.

Lightning typically receives less attention than other storm related killers because it does not leave behind mass destruction like a tornado or hurricane, and usually lightning claims only one or two victims at a time.  In an effort to lower death and injury rates, as well as to increase public knowledge, June 24th to 30th has been designated as Lightning Safety Awareness Week.
 

 What is Safe Shelter from Lightning?

When trying to determine if a location is a proper shelter from lightning, the most important thing to consider is what will happen if the structure gets struck by lightning.  For a shelter to provide protection from lightning, it must contain some mechanism for conducting the electrical current from the point of contact down to the ground.

A house or other substantial building offers the best protection from lightning.  Lightning can travel along the outer shell of the building or follow metal gutters down to the ground.  Inside of a building, lightning can follow conductors such as wiring and plumbing. 

Many small open shelters on athletic fields, golf courses, parks, roadside picnic areas, schoolyards and elsewhere are designed to protect people from rain and sun, but not lightning.  Locations which do not have any plumbing or wiring inside, or any other way to provide a ground, are not safe.

This week Public Information Statements will be issued each day to increase awareness to the dangers of lightning to include:

 

Monday - Introduction to Lightning Safety

Tuesday - Science of Thunderstorms and Lightning

Wednesday - Outdoor Lightning Safety

Thursday - Safe Shelters and Indoor Safety

Friday - Lightning Strike Victims

 

Additional information can be found at the National Weather Service Lightning Safety page.


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