The Importance of Lightning Safety Week

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Nearly 58 people are struck and killed by lightning every year, there have already been 9 reported deaths in 2010 alone (National Weather Service, 2010).  Hundreds of more people are struck every year and survive but they suffer permanent damage.


Family Medical Walk-In Clinic is here to provide tips for you and your family to learn and know for the next time there is a lightning storm.  It is also important to learn what to do if you or someone else is struck by lightning.


Did you know that lightning kills more people than hurricanes and even tornadoes?  To some it is known as the “underrated killer”.  It has been found that lightning is the most threatening during the summer months.


When Should You Seek Shelter?

According to the NWS, lightning can strike at least ten miles from the area where it is raining or where you hear thunder.  If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance.


Teach Your Kids to Know:

  • Go inside a closed building if you hear thunder, even if it is not raining and you haven’t spotted lightning yet
  • If you can’t get inside- get in a car with a hard top cover
  • Stay inside at least 30 minutes after you hear the last rumble of thunder
  • Stay away from tall trees, metal, water, etc.
  • Avoid riding anything metal- bicycle, golf cart, etc.
  • Stay off electronics- corded phone, computers, etc.
  • Avoid taking a shower, bath or using the sink
  • Stay away from windows and doors, stay off porches
  • Do NOT lie on concrete floors or next to concrete walls


Parents: I have provided some great links on ways to make lightning education fun for your children!


If You Get Caught Outside With No Shelter In Sight:

  • Get off hills, mountains, any highly elevated areas
  • Do not lie flat on the ground
  • Never use a tree for shelter/protection
  • Immediately get out of lakes, ponds, any type of body of water
  • Stay away from anything that can produce electricity (power-lines, barbed wire fences, etc.)


What to do: If Someone Is Struck

  • Realize they will need immediate medical help
  • Perform CPR or AED, if the person is unresponsive or not breathing
  • Call 911 for help
  • Keep in mind: Victims do NOT carry electrical charge after they are struck


What You May Experience After Being Struck:

According to the NWS, it has been found that lightning injuries seem to damage the nervous system and may affect the brain.  If it affects the brain, you may have difficulty with:

  • Short term memory
  • Processing new information
  • Multitasking
  • Irritability
  • Personality change


You may also experience:

  • Intense headaches
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness
  • Sleeping problems
  • Nausea
  • Seizure-like activity


Common injuries:

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Central Nervous System damage
  • Burns
  • Hearing loss
  • Blindness or loss of eyesight
  • Muscle and/or ligament tearing
  • Bone fractures


For more information, visit:


Surviving A Lightning Strike:

I have provided a few survival stories from victims who have been struck by lightning:


Check out this great video on “When Lightning Strikes” provided by the NWS:


After reading this; I hope you realize how important it is to seek shelter immediately when a storm is approaching!! 


Lightning Safety week is June 20-26, 2010.  Be safe out there my friends!



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