Awareness and Safety Urged about the Underrated Dangers of Lightning
June 6, 2006
MARYVILLE, Mo., June 16 /PRNewswire/ — According to the National
Weather Service, lightning strikes the United States an estimated 25
million times each year. While lightning is fascinating to watch, it can be
extremely dangerous. On average, lightning kills more people each year than
tornadoes or hurricanes. In conjunction with the its sixth annual National
Lightning Safety Awareness Week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) is reminding Americans about the dangers of
“Lack of awareness about the dangers of lightning and what to do during
a thunderstorm is a common factor in lightning injuries and deaths,” noted
Donna Franklin, director of the NOAA Lightning Safety Awareness Team. “The
first step in solving the problem is to educate people so that they become
aware of the behavior that puts them at risk of being struck by lightning
and to let them know what they can do to reduce that risk,” added Franklin.
Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles away from the rain area in a
thunderstorm, so blue skies are not always a sign of safety. If you hear
thunder, take cover. In conjunction with National Lightning Safety
Awareness Week, lightning safety groups around the U.S. have collaborated
on a new mascot to deliver the lightning safety message to children’s
groups. “Leon the Lightning Lion” is a cartoon character designed to
promote the slogan “When thunder roars, go indoors!” affiliated with
Struckbylightning.org, an organization which offers support for lightning
survivors and public information about lightning safety.
“It is our cultural habit not to take lightning seriously,” said
Michael Utley, lightning survivor and founder of Struckbylightning.org.
“Increased awareness is key and Leon the Lightning Lion is our ‘Smokey the
Bear’ version to help educate kids during thunderstorm season. We’d like
our slogan to be as effective for lightning safety, as ‘Stop, Drop and
Roll’ is for fire safety,” explained Utley.
Seeking shelter indoors during a thunderstorm is an important
precaution, but the installation of a lightning protection system can make
a home or building even safer. A lightning protection system works to
channel lightning’s energy and provide a safe electrical path into the
earth for lightning’s destructive force.
“A professionally-installed lightning protection system is a viable
idea for homeowners who don’t want to take a chance with lightning,” said
Bud VanSickle, executive director for the Lightning Protection Institute
(LPI), a not-for-profit nationwide group founded in 1955 to promote
lightning safety, awareness and education. “The LPI certifies individuals
through a Master Installer testing program to maximize safety through
education. These specialists are trained in accordance with national safety
standards of LPI, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and
Underwriters Laboratories (UL),” added VanSickle.
For more information about safeguarding your home or business against lightning damage, or to contact a certified contractor, visit the LPI website at http://www.lightning.org. More information about lightning safety and National Lightning Safety Awareness Week can be found at http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov and http://www.struckbylightning.org.
Lightning Safety Alliance
SOURCE Lightning Safety Alliance
• http://www.lightningsafetyalliance.com • http://struckbylightning.org
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