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Save a life

This is National Lightning Safety Week and the National Weather Service is doing all it can to lower lightning death and injury rates and to let everyone know how vulnerability we are to one of nature’s deadliest hazards.
Their campaign is terrific and their website offers parents oodles of ways to help educate their children about safety in storms. The website address is www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.
In the United States, an average of 66 people are killed each year by lightning. In 2006, there were 47 confirmed deaths and 246 confirmed injuries. The NWS says the number of injuries is far lower than it would be if injuries due to lightning strikes were accurately reported.
In the United States, there are an estimated 25 million lightning flashes each year. During the past 30 years, lightning killed an average of 66 people per year. This is more than the average of 65 deaths per year caused by tornadoes. Yet, because lightning usually claims only one or two victims at a time and does not cause mass destruction of property, the NWS says it is underrated as a risk.
How can families be prepared to stay
out of harm’s way?
The NWS gives these guidelines:
Watch for developing thunderstorms: Thunderstorms are most likely to develop on spring or summer days but can occur year round. As the sun heats the air, pockets of warmer air start to rise and cumulus clouds form. Continued heating can cause these clouds to grow vertically into towering cumulus clouds, often the first sign of a developing thunderstorm.
When to seek safe shelter: Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles from area where it is raining. That’s about the distance you can hear thunder. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance. Seek safe shelter immediately.
Minimize the risk of being struck: Most lightning deaths and injuries occur in the summer. Where organized outdoor sports activities take place, coaches, camp counselors and other adults must stop activities at the first roar of thunder to ensure everyone time to get a large building or enclosed vehicle. Leaders of outdoors events should have a written plan that all staff are aware of and enforce.
Things to avoid: Inside building, stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity or plumbing. Buy ground fault protectors for key equipment. When inside, wait 30 minutes after the last strike, before going out again.
Helping a lightning strike victim: If a person is struck by lightning, call 911 and get medical care immediately. Cardiac arrest and irregularities, burns, and nerve damage are common in cases where people are struck by lightning. However, with proper treatment, including CPR if necessary, most victims survive a lightning strike. You are in no danger helping a lightning victim. The charge will not affect those who try to help.
Lightning is dangerous. With common sense, many can greatly increase their safety and the safety of those they are with. At the first clap of thunder, go to a large building or fully enclosed vehicle and wait 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder to go back outside.
The excessive rain we been experiencing doesn’t seem to want to let up. We want to encourage our readers to take advantage of this time when you are likely to be inside more than normal to spend a few minutes discussing storm safety with your families.
It might just save a life.

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Posted by on Jun 26 2007. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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