'When thunder roars, go indoors' slogan should catch on

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Fifty-four Forty or Fight!"

"Where's the beef?"

"Loose lips sink ships."

"Read my lips ... no new taxes!"

"Want fries with that?"

"If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit."

Famous saying, all, but not all of them were effective.

Only time will tell whether the National Weather Service's new slogan for this week's Lightning Safety Awareness Week, "When thunder roars, go indoors!" will catch on.

We hope it does. Too many of us don't realize just how dangerous lightning is.

In 2008, 28 people died from lightning strikes. All of them were outside, 79 percent were male, 36 percent were males between the ages of 20-25, 32 percent were under a tree and 29 percent were on or near the water.

The activities or locations in which you are most likely to be killed by lightning, in order, are: open fields and elevated places, under trees or other tall isolated objects, water activities like swimming, boating or fishing, golfing, open vehicles, on a landline telephone or using radio and radio equipment.

The National Weather Service urges you to protect yourself and your family during a lightning storm by seeking shelter in a sturdy building. In the house, stay away from open windows, computers or electrical appliances. Get off the telephone and stay out of the shower. If no building is nearby, get in a metal roofed car, close the windows and stay away from metal.

Do not seek shelter from lightning in an open carport or shed because you may stay dry, but these areas are not properly grounded and won't protect you from a lightning strike. There is no safe place outside in a thunderstorm.

If you can hear the thunder, you can be struck by the lightning. The storm can be 10 miles away and the lightning can still strike you.

Officials urge the use of the 30/30 rule. If the thunder is heard within 30 seconds or less of the lightning, the 30/30 rule says it is time to start seeking shelter.

The second half of the 30/30 rule says wait for 30 minutes until after you hear the last clap of thunder before resuming outdoor activities. Adopting a consistent approach to lightning response such as the 30/30 rule will greatly minimize the lightning risk to your group, team or family.

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