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Stay safe from lightning


HE National Weather Service says an average of 58 fatalities are attributed to lightning strikes each year in the United States, with permanent injuries to hundreds of others. More than 300 people were injured by lightning in 2008. With an estimated 25 million lightning flashes annually in the US, a great potential exists for injury. Protect yourself and your family from lightning with a safe storm strategy.


Be aware of weather forecasts and watch for developing thunder- storms, which occur in greater frequency as spring temperatures begin to rise. As the air is heated by the sun, energy is created with air movement, and lightning typically comes from towering storm clouds. Lightning can strike many miles ahead of a storm front. If you


hear thunder, seek shelter immediately, because that indicates lightning is within 10 miles of you. If you are outside, go inside a building. If you are at a park, do not seek shelter at an open pavilion. A building is safest.


Lightning will typically seek something tall, such as a tree, build- ing, or flagpole, but can also strike at lower objects. That was the case at Kenosha, Wisconsin in March of 2011, when 7 deer were grazing in an open field and were killed by a lightning strike. There have been reports of livestock huddling under a tree during a storm and being killed when lightning hit the tree. Do not seek shelter under trees. If you are inside a building, the National Weather Service advises you to stay off corded telephones, or away from any electrical device that could carry an electrical surge if lightning were carried into your home through wiring. Turn off or unplug such appliances, stay away from television sets, and do not depend on surge protectors to absorb a lightning strike. Conductors can also include the plumbing in your house.


Since water is an excellent conductor of electricity, lightning is particularly dangerous for anyone in a swimming pool or engaged in water recreation. Swimmers, boaters, fishermen, and others on lakes and rivers should seek shelter if storms are threatening and lightning is seen or thunder is heard. Authorities warn against outdoor activity until 30 minutes after the last clasp of thunder is heard. If a person is struck by lightning, call 911 and care for the victim


immediately. You are not in danger of being electrocuted by the victim.


When thunder roars, go indoors T


Northeast Connection 10


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