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Lightning Safety Awareness Week

Lightning Safety Awareness Week – June 16-22, 2024

Lightning Safety Awareness Week is observed every year in the third full week of June — June 16 to June 22 this year. An estimated 1,000 people get struck by lightning each year in the U.S. Lightning strikes cause several deaths and people who are struck by lighting often suffer from neurological issues. Thus, it is important to be aware of the dangers of lightning to keep yourself and your loved ones out of harm’s way in a thunderstorm.

History of Lightning Safety Awareness Week

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that lightning in the United States has killed more people than any other weather factor. Thus, Lightning Safety Awareness Week was started in 2001 to bring to light the gravity of the situation.

It is interesting to note that the fatalities caused by lightning in the U.S have dropped to around less than 30 a year. This can be attributed to the increased awareness of this phenomenon. Moreover, NOAA slogans like “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors” or “See a Flash, Dash Inside” that were created for the blind, deaf, and hard of hearing have also helped in bringing the fatality rate down.

Lightning Safety Awareness Week helps to alert people that the outdoors are not safe during a thunderstorm. Lightning can strike from over 15 miles away and any delays in taking precautions can cause serious injury or fatality. Lightning Safety Awareness Week is important to spread awareness of lightning and lightning safety.

Lightning Safety Awareness Week timeline

First Lightning Evidence

Benjamin Franklin proves that thunderstorms create electricity with his kite experiment.

The Most Fatal Lightning Incident

Lightning hits a gunpowder factory in Luxembourg, Europe, killing around 300 people.

Public Education Award

NOAA lightning specialist John Jensenius is awarded the National Weather Association’s Public Education Award for his work in lightning safety education.

Department of Commerce Silver Medal

NOAA lightning specialist John Jensenius is awarded the Department of Commerce Silver Medal for his contribution to lightning safety.

Lightning Safety Awareness Week FAQs

What are five safety tips for lightning?

There are some precautions you can take during a lightning event such as avoiding water during a thunderstorm as lightning can travel through plumbing. Additionally, it is important to stay away from all electronic items. If possible, avoid concrete floors and walls as well. 

What is the lightning safety position?

If you’re outside during an electrical storm with no shelter close by, the best lightning safety position is to crouch into a ball with your hands over your ears, and head tucked in. Stay away from any body of water. 

Is it dangerous to stand near a window during lightning?

Yes. Lightning is a dangerous force that can strike a house and release an electrical charge that can hit you, even through a window. 

How To Observe Lightning Safety Awareness Week

  1. Prepare a lightning safety plan

    While it is advisable to stay indoors during a thunderstorm, there are occasions when we might not have the luxury to be at home. However, it is important to have a safety plan in place for where to take shelter, what items to leave at home when stepping out in a thunderstorm, etc.

  2. Read up about lightning

    We may not know as much about lightning as we think. It is important to be thoroughly aware of its dangers so that we can take the necessary precautions if we are ever caught in an electrical storm.

  3. Educate others about lightning

    You can do your bit to save lives by spreading awareness about the dangers of lightning. Many people don’t know enough about this phenomenon. Take up the responsibility to inform as many people as you can about the dangers of lightning.

5 Striking Facts About Lightning

  1. Lightning speed

    A lightning strike travels at the speed of 270,000 miles/hour.

  2. Fulgurite

    When lightning strikes a beach, it fuses the grains of sand to create a small glass-like tube called fulgurite.

  3. World’s most lightning-struck place

    Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela is struck by the most lightning in the world.

  4. Helicopters can cause lightning

    Helicopters can cause isolated lightning strikes when they are flying close enough to a location that is positively charged.

  5. Number of lightning strikes annually

    There are approximately 1,400,000,000 lightning strikes per year across the globe.

Why Lightning Safety Awareness Week Is Important

  1. Lightning can cause fatalities

    Lightning strikes are more dangerous than we think. They can cause fatalities and serious neurological injuries. It’s important to be aware of the risks of venturing out during a thunderstorm.

  2. It helps to save lives

    Since Lightning Safety Awareness Week started, the number of deaths per year in the U.S. has significantly decreased. The importance of this event cannot be emphasized more, as the greater the awareness, the more lives can be saved.

  3. You can be prepared during lightning

    Being aware of lightning and the steps you can take can help you be more prepared during a thunderstorm. It’s important to note that if you can hear thunder in your vicinity, even if it’s at a distance, you may be in danger of being hit by lightning.

Lightning Safety Awareness Week dates

2022June 19Sunday
2023June 18Sunday
2024June 16Sunday
2025June 15Sunday
2026June 21Sunday

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