Lightning Safety Day: Prepare Your Family For One of The Deadliest Weather Phenomena
GEMA’s Ready Georgia campaign offers tips to help residents prepare
(ATLANTA) - Lightning causes up to $5 billion worth of damages each year and is one of the leading causes of weather-related deaths in the nation. These electrical sparks strike an estimated 25 million times each year and kill more people than tornadoes or hurricanes.
In 2010, Georgia had the highest number of deaths nationwide, which is why Governor Deal and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA)/Homeland Security urge residents across the state to join them in preparing on Feb. 10, Lightning Safety Day, during Severe Weather Awareness Week.
“Lightning is a deadly by-product of thunderstorms and has the potential to travel more than 100 miles away from a thunderstorm, yet Georgians still underestimate its threat,” said Charley English, director of GEMA/Homeland Security. “Severe Weather Awareness Week is an ideal time for residents to review lightning safety guidelines to prevent potential injuries or worse when lightning strikes.”
Lightning threats are the greatest outdoors, but lightning can also enter buildings through the ground, pipes or wires from outside and can strike floors and walls containing metal, which are the leading cause of house fires and property damage.
Prepare your family and home for the threat of lightning by following the simple steps from GEMA’s Ready Georgia campaign:
Before Lightning Strikes
· Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of light, or increasing wind. Listen for the sound of thunder.
· If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.
· Monitor NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for the latest weather forecasts.
When a Storm Approaches
· Find shelter in a building or car. Keep car windows closed and avoid convertibles.
· Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Unplug appliances. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. (Leaving electric lights on, however, does not increase the chances of your home being struck by lightning.)
· Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any purpose.
· Turn off the air conditioner. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressor, resulting in a costly repair job.
· Draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break due to objects blown by the wind, the shades will help prevent glass from shattering into your home.
If Caught Outside
· Find safe shelter in a building or vehicle, if possible.
· If you are in the woods and cannot find a safe shelter, take shelter under the shorter trees.
· If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately.
Protecting Yourself Outside
· Go to a low-lying, open place away from trees, poles, or metal objects. Make sure the place you pick is not subject to flooding.
· Be a very small target. Squat low to the ground. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them.
After the Storm Passes
· Stay away from storm-damaged areas.
· Listen to the radio or television for information and instructions.
If Someone is Struck by Lightning
· People struck by lightning carry no electrical charge and can be handled safely.
· Call for help. Get someone to dial 9-1-1 or your local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) number.
· The injured person has received an electrical shock and may be burned, both where they were struck and where the electricity left their body. Check for burns in both places. Being struck by lightning can also cause nervous system damage, broken bones, and loss of hearing or eyesight.
· Give first aid. If breathing has stopped, begin rescue breathing. If the heart has stopped beating, a trained person should give CPR. If the person has a pulse and is breathing, look and care for other possible injuries. Learn first aid and CPR by taking an American Red Cross first aid and CPR course; call your local Red Cross chapter for class schedules and fees.
During Severe Weather Awareness Week, Ready Georgia is giving residents the chance to win a NOAA Weather Radio and Ready kit, a $100 value, courtesy of The Home Depot. From Feb. 7-11, visit Ready Georgia’s Facebook page and click on the “Contests” tab. Then, enter the contest by simply submitting a severe weather photo and a step you have taken to prepare.# # #
About Ready Georgia
Ready Georgia is a statewide campaign designed to educate and empower Georgians to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, pandemic outbreaks, potential terrorist attacks and other large-scale emergencies. The campaign is a project of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and provides a local dimension to Ready America, a broader national campaign. Ready Georgia aims to prepare citizens for maintaining self-sufficiency for at least 72 hours following an emergency, and uses an interactive Web site, online community toolkit, broadcast and print advertising and public awareness media messaging to reach its audiences. Ready Georgia is also on Facebook and YouTube.