SOURCE: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

June 25, 2012 15:34 ET

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Annual Lightning Safety Campaign Offers Life Saving Resources and Information

June 24-30 Is Lightning Safety Awareness Week

TAMPA, FL--(Marketwire - Jun 25, 2012) - Last week, NOAA's National Weather Service took its lightning safety message to the "lightning capital of the country" -- Tampa, Fla., a city with more lightning strikes than any other in the nation. The 2012 lightning safety awareness week, June 24-30, reminds people when outdoors for work or play to go inside at the first sound of thunder. At the event, special guest, Dave Andreychuk, a left winger for the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team, discussed lightning strike risk, and promoted public safety. Andreychuk also introduced the campaign's new radio public service announcements.

"The message of this campaign is simple: If you can hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you -- go indoors immediately," said Donna Franklin, National Weather Service lightning campaign manager. "It's tragic when people die because they stayed on the water fishing or on the golf course one minute longer than they should have. Being a victim of a lightning strike is a preventable tragedy that the National Weather Service is determined to stop as part of our efforts to build a Weather-Ready Nation."

Working with partners, NOAA's National Weather Service is building a Weather-Ready Nation to support community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather.

Lightning kills 54 people per year in the United States on average, but it strikes hundreds more who are often left with life-long debilitating injuries. The U.S. has seen four lightning deaths so far this year, all male, with three struck while fishing. About 80 percent of lightning victims are male, and about 60 percent of victims are struck when participating in sports or leisure activities.

The National Weather Service has developed three unique lightning safety toolkits to help communities and organizations better protect citizens, patrons, and employees during thunderstorms:

  • A toolkit for large outdoor event venues targets places like sports stadiums, amusement parks, fairgrounds and golf courses.
  • A toolkit for outdoor community prepareness is directed at county or city outdoor facilities, such as parks and swimming pools.
  • A toolkit for beach patrols and lifeguards -- recently adopted by the U.S. Lifesaving Association -- focuses on beach locations.

These toolkits encourage venue managers to adopt lightning policies, safety and communications plans, provide patrons with safe shelter and education materials, and post signs reminding people to go indoors when they hear thunder.

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