June 21st - 27th is Lightning Awareness Week in Georgia. Check out this informative article from Ready GA on how to prepare for lightning.
Lightning is a common occurrence in Georgia, and it's easy to forget just how dangerous it can be. Each year, lightning strikes the U.S. an estimated 25 million times and causes an average of 60 fatalities and 300 injuries each year. In Georgia alone, 11 people have died due to lightning strikes since 2006.
"Thunderstorms are such a regular part of life in Georgia, especially in the warmer months, that it's easy to let your guard down and forget the danger of lightning," said GEMA/HS Director Jim Butterworth. "Following the 30/30 rule is a good way to make sure you are taking the proper precautions and avoiding unnecessary risk."
Lightning has the potential to travel more than 10 miles away from a thunderstorm, and it can strike the same location twice. When you are outdoors, be aware of current local weather forecasts. Always stay alert for signs of approaching thunderstorms. In addition to the 30/30 rule, here are more lightning safety tips:
Before Lightning Strikes
- Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of light or increasing wind. Listen for the sound of thunder.
- If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.
- Monitor NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for the latest weather forecasts, or download the Ready Georgia mobile app.
When a Storm Approaches
- Find shelter in a building or car. Keep car windows closed and avoid convertibles.
- Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Unplug appliances. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. (Leaving electric lights on, however, does not increase the chances of your home being struck by lightning.)
- Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any purpose.
- Turn off the air conditioner. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressor, resulting in a costly repair job.
If Caught Outside
- If you are in the woods, take shelter under the shorter trees.
- If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately.
Protect Yourself Outside
- Go to a low-lying, open place away from trees, poles or metal objects. Make sure the place you pick is not subject to flooding.
- Be a very small target! Squat low to the ground. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest target possible.
- Do not lie flat on the ground. This will make you a larger target.