SOURCE: National Weather Service

National Weather Service

July 12, 2011 15:34 ET

The National Weather Service Encourages the Public to Learn More About the Importance of Lightning Safety Awareness Through New Campaign and Public Service Announcement

NWS Is Providing Resources This Season to Remind Families to Go Indoors When They Hear Thunder

SILVER SPRING, MD--(Marketwire - Jul 12, 2011) - Summer is time for backyard barbeques, trips to the beach and lots of outdoor fun, but it's also a time when the atmosphere heats up and dangerous thunderstorms become more frequent. Did you know lightning is the third highest storm-related killer, following floods and tornadoes? That's why the National Weather Service (NWS) and its lightning safety partners are working to stress the importance of reminding your family that, "When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!"

This year, the NWS unveiled a new community-based volunteer preparedness program to increase awareness about the danger of lightning at outdoor recreation venues, like parks, concert arenas, and golf courses as well as open water locations such as swimming pools and beaches. The agency created lightning safety awareness signs that local communities can install at these public places to encourage people to go indoors when they hear thunder! Because almost all lightning injuries and deaths can be prevented, such education and awareness is crucial.

"People understand the danger with lightning, but thunder needs to be recognized as the early warning for lightning -- many still take risks that aren't worth losing their life over," said Donna Franklin, lightning safety program leader with the National Weather Service. "Nearly eighty-five percent of lightning victims are male, and this has been true since we began keeping records in 1959 -- so it's especially important that we teach young men to make wise decisions during thunderstorms. When people hear thunder, they need to immediately stop what they are doing and go inside."

For those interested in getting involved with this important awareness campaign this season, there are several ways in which the public can show their support:

  • Watch this very special Public Service Announcement, where Ellen Bryan, winner of the 2011 Miss Ohio title, tells the story of why she supports this campaign and safety initiative, and share it with your family and friends. Ellen has been affected personally by a lightning-related injury, as her sister was struck while working on a golf course and was severely injured and ultimately paralyzed: www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSDveSizTtg.
  • Stop by the NWS website and pick up an interactive safety awareness widget, the special online version of the traditional safety awareness sign! Readers can easily insert the widget onto their social media networks by grabbing the code on the website.
  • Share NWS recommendations with your family and friends for quick and easy safety tips! A few examples include:

1. Get into a substantial building or hardtop vehicle at the first rumble of thunder;
2. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after the last thunder clap;
3. Keep away from plumbing, electrical equipment and wiring during a thunderstorm.

The National Weather Service is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Its mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.

To learn more, visit www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov and be sure to check out the NWS on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels!

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