The week of June 20 – 26, 2010 is the 10th annual Lightning Safety Awareness Week nationwide.
Locally, the National Weather Service in Indianapolis is partnering with Marion County Emergency Management and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security to raise awareness about the dangers of lightning and what individuals can do to stay safe.
Lightning is the #2 severe weather related killer, averaging 58 deaths and over an estimated 500 injuries per year. The vast majority of lightning victims survive, but are often left with debilitating and permanent physical and mental effects. With 25 million lightning strikes each year on average nationwide, what can you do to avoid becoming a statistic? Prevention is the key. Remember, “When thunder roars, go indoors!”
• REMEMBER, NO PLACE OUTSIDE IS SAFE DURING A THUNDERSTORM
• Watch for approaching or developing thunderstorms.
• Seek shelter as soon as you hear thunder. If you are close enough to hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.
• Seek shelter in a sturdy building away from windows, appliances, and plumbing.
• If sturdy shelter is not available, get into a hard topped vehicle.
• Do NOT seek shelter under trees or other tall and isolated objects.
• Do NOT seek shelter in partially-enclosed structures.
• Avoid contact with plumbing and corded appliances.
• Stay away from doors and windows.
• Steer clear of porches, as well as walls and floors that might be metal reinforced.
• Remain in shelter for 30 minutes after the last thunder is heard.
• Remember to bring your pets inside.
• Have a NOAA Weather Radio handy for 24-hour information on thunderstorms and other hazardous weather.
What do you do if someone has been struck by lightning? First, 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, although they may be left with serious and lasting effects. You are in no danger when helping a lightning victim, and may safely do so immediately. Lightning strike victims do not carry a charge.