Summer is the prime season for one of the world’s deadliest weather phenomena—lightning. In the United States, an average of 53 people are killed each year by lightning, and many more are severely injured. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Lightning Safety Awareness Week was created to educate people about the dangers of lightning and occurs this year June 22-28, 2014.
NOAA offers the following safety tips to help you and your loved ones stay safe during a thunderstorm.
- Eyes on the sky: Listen for the sound of thunder and keep an eye out for darkening skies, flashes of light or increasing wind.
- Seek shelter: If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Find safe shelter immediately. Stay put at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.
- Stay informed: Keep up with the latest weather forecasts by listening to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, scanner radio or television.
While indoors, take the following precautions:
- Don’t use electrical equipment such as corded phones and computers; turn off the air conditioner to avoid a power surge.
- Avoid plumbing including sinks, bathtubs and faucets.
- Stay off porches and stay away from windows and doors.
- Draw blinds and shades over windows to prevent glass from shattering into your home.
If you’re caught outside with no way to head to safe shelter, the following actions may reduce your risk of danger:
- Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks and get away from bodies of water.
- Never use isolated trees, cliffs and rocky overhangs for shelter.
- Never lie flat on the ground.
First Aid Tips
According to the Red Cross, lightning causes about 80 fatalities and injures an average of 300 people each year. Lightning strikes can cause long-term symptoms including memory loss, sleep disorders, chronic pain, numbness and others. Check for burns and other injuries if someone is struck by lightning, and call 911 and begin CPR if the person has stopped breathing. Smartphone apps like the American Heart Association’s Pocket First Aid and CPR app can help in the event of an emergency. Be CAT ready to weather the storm with these other smartphone apps.
Crawford takes a close interest in weather because its claims adjusting work takes it directly into areas struck by severe storms. Crawford helps manage the effects of natural disasters through Catastrophe Services (CAT), one of the insurance industry’s leading independent adjusting resources for claims management in response to natural (and man-made) disasters, and also its Global Technical Services® business, which focuses on large or complex insurance losses. To better understand how we work with the effects of severe weather, take a look at this brief video.