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Public Information Statement

National Weather Service Headquarters Washington DC

1240 PM EDT Wed Jun 19 2013


To:       Subscribers:

          -Family of Services

          -NOAA Weather Wire Service

          -Emergency Managers Weather Information Network


          Other NWS Partners and NWS employees


From:     Michael J. Szkil

          Chief, Awareness Branch

          Office of Climate, Water and Weather Services


Subject:  2013 National Lightning Safety Awareness Week

          June 23-30, 2013


When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors


The National Weather Service’s 13th National Lightning Safety

Awareness Week campaign occurs June 23-30, 2013.


The 2013 campaign reminds people that no place outside is safe

when thunderstorms are in the area. Most lightning strike victims

are close to safe shelter but wait too long to get there. If you

can hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.  The

NWS motto is, “When thunder roars, go indoors.”


Prior to the lightning safety campaign, lightning killed an average of

73 people each year in the United States. Since the NWS launched the

campaign, the average has dropped to 37. This is great news, but there

are still too many deaths and injuries.  Each year hundreds of people

are injured, many with permanent nerve damage, hearing loss and other

serious side effects.


Lightning deaths and injuries occur most frequently in open areas and

under trees. Planning for lightning is crucial when you are outdoors,

especially when camping, fishing, hiking, at the beach or playing



People are especially vulnerable to lightning strikes when a storm is

approaching or exiting their area. Lightning can strike more than 10

miles away from a thunderstorm.


Lightning tips, statistics, brochures, educational shows and more are

available on the NWS lightning safety website at:



What You Need to Know About Lightning


- No place outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area

- If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you

- When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter:

  A substantial building with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed,

  metal-topped vehicle with windows up

- Stay in a safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last

  sound of thunder

- If someone is struck by lightning, they are safe to touch and need

  immediate CPR if they are not breathing or are unresponsive


Indoor Lightning Safety Tips


- Stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment

- Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths and faucets

- Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches

- Do not lie on concrete floors, and do not lean against concrete



Last Resort Outdoor Risk Reduction Tips


If you are caught outside with no safe shelter anywhere nearby, the

following actions may reduce your risk:


- Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or


- Never lie flat on the ground

- Never shelter under an isolated tree

- Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter

- Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of


- Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences,

  power lines, windmills, etc.)


If you have any comments or questions regarding this Public Service

Announcement, please contact:


Donna Franklin

NWS Lightning Safety Program Lead

Silver Spring, MD

301-713-0090, Ext. 141



NWS Public Information Statements are online: