June 27, 2014 — It’s Lightning Safety Awareness Week and partnering groups across the country are once again joining forces to promote public awareness about lightning safety and lightning protection.
The LSA Week campaign began in 2001 when NOAA and the National Weather Service launched an annual initiative to increase awareness about the dangers of lightning and provide the public with safety information to help protect their families and property. Since 2001, outreach with like-minded partnering groups across the country has helped expand the campaign mission to deliver lightning safety and preparedness messages to the public!
This year’s annual campaign kick-off event was held at the University of Maryland’s Earth Science System Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) in College Park, MD on June 24. The event theme was “Building Lightning Safe Communities” and partner organizations from ESSIC, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), the Lightning Safety Alliance (LSA), Earth Networks, NOAA and the National Weather Service came together for a press conference, reporter workshop and an expert panel presentation to share news and educational resources about lightning.
There was good news to report about protecting people and property:
• A record low number in lightning deaths (23 in 2013 according to NOAA/NWS reports)
• A decrease in lightning property losses (nearly $700 million in 2013 as opposed to over $1 billion in previous years according to I.I.I. data)
While the significant decline in these numbers may be attributed to a fewer number of severe storms in 2013, more awareness about the hazard and an increased in the specification of lightning protection systems are believed to be factors, as well.
Yes, partnering efforts are helping to build lightning safe communities, but there is still much work to be done to help dispel myths and reduce apathy about lightning’s dangers. Lightning safety awareness and education boosted by partnership can continue to make a difference in protecting lives and property. By pooling expert resources accordingly, partners can come together to make a difference help build lightning safe communities!
More information about National Lightning Safety Awareness Week can be found at www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.
More information about lightning safety and protection for outdoor facilities can be found at www.lightning-risk.org. More information about the Building Lightning Safe Communities campaign can be found at www.lightning-safe.org.