IEMA, National Weather Service reminder:
'When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors'
Safety Awareness Week is June 24-30
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[June 23, 2012]
SPRINGFIELD -- No matter where you live
or travel in Illinois, it's easy to find a seemingly endless array
of outdoor activities during the summer months. Whether your plans
call for catching a baseball game, hitting the links or attending an
outdoor festival or fair, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency
and the National Weather Service want you and your family to stay
safe when lightning threatens your summer fun.
As part of national Lightning Safety Awareness Week June 24-30, the
two agencies are reminding people, "When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors."
"Illinois' warm summers are perfect for outdoor events and
activities, but they also can aid in the development of
thunderstorms," said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. "We want people
to enjoy summer to its fullest, and remembering ‘When Thunder Roars,
Go Indoors' can keep your summer fun from ending in tragedy."
According to the NWS, an average of 55 people are killed by
lightning each year in the United States. In addition, it's
estimated that more than 1,000 people are injured by lightning
strikes in the nation each year. A majority of victims were either
outdoors in an open area or taking part in an activity near the
water, such as fishing, tubing or swimming.
"There are three steps to increase your lightning safety. First,
know your risk by avoiding the threat. Check the forecast regularly
and keep an eye on the sky so you do not get caught outdoors in a
storm," said Chris Miller, warning coordination meteorologist with
the NWS Lincoln office. "Secondly, take action. When you hear a
rumble of thunder or see a flash of lightning, get indoors or into a
hard-topped vehicle with the windows closed. Finally, let others
know about the threat. Contact family members and friends on their
mobile devices if you know they are outdoors and a thunderstorm is
While less than 10 percent of people who are struck by lightning
are killed, many lightning strike survivors suffer various degrees
of disability. Only a few lightning strike victims actually suffer
burns, and these are usually minor. However, many lightning strike
survivors are left with debilitating lifelong effects, including
memory loss, personality changes, fatigue, irreparable nerve damage,
chronic pain or headaches, difficulty sleeping, and dizziness.
IEMA and the NWS offer the following tips for staying safe when
Outdoor lightning safety tips:
No place outside
is safe when thunderstorms are in the area.
If you hear
thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.
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When you hear
thunder, immediately move to a safe shelter.
Safe shelter is a
substantial building or inside an enclosed, hard-topped vehicle.
Stay in the safe shelter at least 30
minutes after you hear the last clap of thunder.
If there is no safe shelter anywhere nearby:
Never use a tree
out and away from pools, lakes and other bodies of water.
Stay away from all
metallic objects (fences, power lines, poles, etc.).
Do not raise umbrellas or golf clubs
People shouldn't hesitate to help someone who has been struck by
lightning, since victims do not carry an electrical charge. The
surge of electricity through a lightning victim's body causes
cardiac arrest in most fatalities, so immediate medical attention is
critical. If the victim doesn't have a pulse and isn't breathing,
CPR should be administered immediately.
For additional tips on lightning safety, visit the Ready Illinois
www.ready.illinois.gov or contact IEMA at 217-785-9925.
Emergency Management Agency file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]