Outdoor Lightning Safety

By: Candice Sorensen Email
By: Candice Sorensen Email

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TOPEKA KS
1055 AM CDT WED JUN 27 2007

...LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK JUNE 24-30, 2007...
LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK CONTINUES WITH OUTDOOR LIGHTNING SAFETY RULES...

A SAFE SHELTER IS ONE THAT IS FULLY ENCLOSED WITH A ROOF...WALLS AND A FLOOR. PICNIC SHELTERS...DUGOUTS...SHEDS AND OTHER PARTIALLY ENCLOSED STRUCTURES ARE NOT SAFE. A SAFE VEHICLE IS A HARD-TOPPED CAR...TRUCK OR TRACTOR. MAKE SURE ALL DOORS AND WINDOWS ARE CLOSED AND DO NOT TOUCH METAL SURFACES. HERE ARE SOME SAFETY TIPS FOR TIMES
WHEN A SAFE LOCATION IS NEARBY...

PLAN AHEAD! YOUR BEST SOURCE OF UP-TO-DATE WEATHER INFORMATION IS A NOAA WEATHER RADIO (NWR). PORTABLE WEATHER RADIOS ARE HANDY FOR OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES. IF YOU DON'T HAVE A NWR...STAY UP TO DATE VIA THE INTERNET...TV OR LOCAL RADIO. IF YOU ARE IN A GROUP...MAKE SURE ALL LEADERS OR MEMBERS HAVE A LIGHTNING SAFETY PLAN AND THAT THEY
ARE READY TO USE IT.

DETERMINE HOW FAR YOU ARE FROM A SAFE SHELTER OR VEHICLE. USE THE 30/30 RULE FOR SAFETY. WHEN LIGHTNING IS OBSERVED AND YOU HEAR THE THUNDER WITHIN 30 SECONDS OR LESS...HEAD TO YOUR SHELTER. STAY INSIDE FOR 30 MINUTES AFTER THE LAST CLAP OF THUNDER IS HEARD. DO NOT BE FOOLED BY SUNSHINE OR BLUE SKY!

IF YOU ARE PART OF A LARGE GROUP...YOU WILL NEED MORE TIME TO GET ALL MEMBERS TO SAFETY. YOUR ENTIRE GROUP SHOULD ALREADY BE IN A SAFE LOCATION WHEN THE APPROACHING STORM REACHES WITHIN 5 MILES OF YOUR LOCATION. HAVE A DESIGNATED SAFETY OFFICER MONITOR THE LATEST NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR IMAGES OR FORECASTS TO DETERMINE HOW SOON THE THUNDERSTORMS WILL ARRIVE AT YOUR LOCATION.

OR HAVE PROFESSIONAL LIGHTNING DETECTION EQUIPMENT SO YOUR GROUP CAN BE ALERTED TO LIGHTNING AT SIGNIFICANT DISTANCES FROM THE EVENT LOCATION.

IF YOU CHOOSE A VEHICLE FOR SHELTER...DO NOT USE ELECTRONIC DEVICES SUCH AS CELL PHONES OR RADIOS DURING A THUNDERSTORM.

THE ONLY TRULY SAFE SHELTER IS INSIDE A STURDY BUILDING DURING A THUNDERSTORM...HOWEVER IF YOU ARE OUTDOORS AND A SAFE LOCATION IS NOT NEARBY...FOLLOW THESE LAST RESORT SAFETY TIPS.

DO NOT SEEK SHELTER UNDER TALL...ISOLATED TREES. DO NOT SEEK SHELTER UNDER PARTIALLY ENCLOSED BUILDINGS. STAY AWAY FROM TALL...ISOLATED OBJECTS AND DO NOT MAKE YOURSELF THE TALLEST OBJECT IN A CLEARING OR FIELD. STAY AWAY FROM METAL OBJECTS...SUCH AS FENCES...POLES AND
POWER LINES. IF YOU ARE IN A GROUP...ALLOW SOME DISTANCE BETWEEN MEMBERS OF YOUR GROUP SO THE LIGHTNING WON'T TRAVEL BETWEEN YOU IF ONE PERSON IS HIT. CROUCH DOWN ON THE BALLS OF YOUR FEET TO MAKE YOURSELF AS SMALL OF A TARGET AS POSSIBLE.

IF YOU ARE CAMPING OR IN THE MOUNTAINS...DO NOT CAMP IN AN OPEN FIELD OR ON TOP OF A HILL OR RIDGE. KEEP YOUR SITE AWAY FROM TALL...ISOLATED TREES. A TENT OFFERS NO PROTECTION FROM LIGHTNING.

REMEMBER...THUNDERSTORMS OFTEN FORM IN THE AFTERNOON IN MOUNTAINOUS REGIONS. ON THE WATER...BE AWARE OF THE FORECAST BEFORE YOU GO OUT IN A BOAT. MOST LIGHTNING DEATHS AND INJURIES OCCUR ON SMALL BOATS WITH NO CABIN. YOU MUST GET BACK TO LAND AND FIND A SAFE BUILDING OR VEHICLE IF THUNDERSTORMS THREATEN YOUR LOCATION.

INDOOR LIGHTNING SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS WILL BE FEATURED ON THURSDAY... JUNE 28TH.

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR FOR LIGHTNING SAFETY INTERVIEWS...PLEASE CONTACT THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE IN TOPEKA KANSAS (785) 234-2592.


631 SW Commerce Pl. Topeka, Kansas 66615 phone: 785-272-6397 fax: 785-272-1363 email: feedback@wibw.com
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