AUSTIN, Texas, June 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — As wildfires destroy thousands of acres in Texas, with some triggered by lightning, Governor Rick Perry declares June 19-25, 2011, Lightning Safety Awareness Week, proclaiming that education is the key to understanding lightning’s dangers. Lightning safety advocates from the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the National Weather Service joined Texas State Fire Marshal Paul Maldonado today to kick- off Lightning Safety Awareness Week and share educational resources at a fire station in the heart of a wildfire-threatened area of Austin.
“People often underrate the dangers of lightning, yet it is a leading storm-related killer,” said Donna Franklin, director of the National Weather Service’s Lightning Safety Awareness Team. “Lack of awareness about what to do during a thunderstorm seems to be a common factor in many lightning injuries and deaths, which is why the National Weather Service launched the annual lightning safety campaign in 2001.”
“Texas has seen 29 lightning casualties since 2000, and is ranked second in terms of states with the greatest number of lightning deaths over the last 40 years,” said Paul Yura, warning coordination meteorologist of the National Weather Service in Austin. “Texas also has more lightning than any other state, averaging almost three million potentially deadly flashes each year—so lightning is a concern for us in terms of personal safety and property loss,” explained Yura.
“Lightning safety week is a perfect time to remind the fire prevention community and first-responders about the dangers of lightning and provide the public with information to help protect families and property,” said Bud VanSickle, LPI executive director. “Collaboration with like-minded partners helps us align existing efforts and pool our expert resources accordingly, to better address lightning safety needs.”
The collaboration is part of LPI’s educational initiative to remind the public and the fire safety community about the dangers of lightning, an underrated and often forgotten weather hazard. LPI is a not-for-profit, nationwide group founded in 1955 promote lightning safety, awareness and protection education. Visit the LPI website at www.lightning.org for more information.
More information about the Lightning Safety Awareness Campaign can be found at www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.
SOURCE Lightning Protection Institute