Lightning Safety Awareness Week - June 19-25

The 11th annual National Lightning Safety Awareness Week runs June 19-25, 2011.  More than 400 people are struck by lightning in the United State each year.  Lightning Safety Awareness Week, first launched in 2000 to educate people about the danger of lightning, is helping to reduce annual lightning deaths.  The number of lightning related deaths in 2010 totaled about 30 nationwide, which was slightly more than one-half the 30-year average of 55 deaths.

However, approximately 10 percent of the nationwide deaths occurred in Wyoming.  Lightning related deaths numbered three in Wyoming in 2010, while injuries topped two dozen.  Mountain locations are particularly dangerous during thunderstorms as little protection is usually available.  In fact, most lightning related casualties in Wyoming occur in mountainous terrain.  Read more about the dangers of lightning in Wyoming.

Many people still wait too long to seek shelter from lightning, which can strike up to ten miles away from a thunderstorm.  NWS officials advise that if you hear thunder, you need to get inside a building or car immediately and boaters need to head to shore.

To avoid being struck by lightning, NOAA’s National Weather Service recommends that you:

  • Get into a fully enclosed building or hardtop vehicle at the first rumble of thunder;
  • Stay indoors for 30 minutes after the last thunder clap;
  • Monitor the weather forecast when you’re planning to be outdoors;
  • Have a plan for getting to safety in case a thunderstorm moves in;
  • Do not use a corded phone during a thunderstorm unless it’s an emergency; cell phones are safe to use;
  • Keep away from plumbing, electrical equipment and wiring during a thunderstorm.

Click here to learn more about this important awareness week and to find other valuable links to lightning safety related materials - including Leon the Lion’s Lightning Safety Game.  Additionally, the NWS has released a brochure titled, "Lightning Safety for You and Your Family" which can be downloaded here.  Our NWS Lightning Safety page has complete information regarding this dangerous weather phenomena.  Remember, "When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors."

Wyoming NWS officials worked with the Wyoming Game & Fish over the past year to create a lightning safety brochure for boaters and a boat key chain with the safety message, "When Thunder Roars, Head to Shore."  Several marinas, including those on Boysen, Fremont, Flaming Gorge, Pathfinder, and Lake DeSmet, have the lightning safety brochures and key chains on hand for distribution.  You can also download your own copy of the Wyoming Lightning Safety brochure (.pdf).

Additionally, broadcast media are encouraged to download any of the three lightning safety awareness week public service announcements.  The announcements are 30 seconds in length, are Wyoming-centric, and are in .mp3 format.  Each of the announcements focuses on a different aspect of lightning safety important in Wyoming.

Sports and Lightning
Safety Plan

Safety for Recreation
and Sports Programs

Lightning Safety for
Hikers and Campers

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