Protect Yourself From Severe Thunderstorms
Lightning Safety Awareness Week is June 20-26
In an annual coordinated effort with the National Weather Service (NWS), the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness is promoting June 20-26 as National Lightning Safety Awareness Week and encourages all Ohioans to know what to do before, during and after thunderstorms and to practice severe weather safety and preparedness throughout the summer.
Lightning is one of the leading causes of injury and death from weather-related hazards. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms.
Although the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are less than one in one million, some factors can put you at greater risk. Lightning most often strikes people who work outside or engage in outdoor recreational activities. Regional and seasonal differences can also affect your risk of being injured by lightning.
In 2020, 17 people in 11 states died from lightning strikes. All of the lightning-strike incidents happened while individuals were outside. Seven were male; four female. The youngest was a 9-year-old girl who tried to take shelter near a tree.
You can protect yourself from severe thunderstorms even if you’re caught outdoors when lightning is close by. Have a lightning safety plan.
- If the weather forecast calls for thunderstorms, postpone your trip or activity.
- Remember: When thunder roars, go indoors. Find a safe, enclosed shelter.
- Don’t forget the 30-30 rule. After seeing lightning, start counting to 30. If you hear thunder before you reach 30, go indoors. Suspend activities for at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder.
- If no shelter is available, crouch low, with as little of your body touching the ground as possible. Lightning causes electric currents along the top of the ground that can be deadly up to, and exceeding, 100 feet away.
- Avoid concrete floors and walls. Lightning can travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring.
Prepare Before the Storm
- Know your area’s risk for thunder and lightning. Spring and summer are typical seasons for thunderstorms, but they can occur year-round, day or night.
- Sign up for your local emergency notification system or download a weather app. The Emergency Alert System and NOAA Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
- Cut down or trim trees that may be in danger of falling onto your home.
- Consider buying surge protectors, a lightning protection system, or lightning rods to protect your home, appliances, and electronic devices.
Survive During the Storm
- When you hear thunder or see lightning, move to safe shelter immediately, such as a substantial building, or a metal-topped vehicle (not a convertible), with the windows rolled up.
- Pay attention to weather reports and thunderstorm warnings.
- Get out and away from bodies of water. If boating, fishing or swimming, get to land and find a sturdy, grounded shelter or vehicle immediately.
- If indoors, avoid running water or using landline phones. Electricity can travel through plumbing and telephone lines.
- Never drive or walk through flooded roadways. Turn Around, Don’t Drown. It takes just 6 inches of fast-moving water to knock an adult down, and about 12 inches of moving water can sweep away most vehicles.
Be Safe After the Storm
- Listen to local authorities and weather forecasts for storm watches or warnings or for any instructions regarding potential flash flooding.
- Wait 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder before resuming outdoor activities.
- Watch for fallen power lines or broken tree limbs. Report hazards immediately.
Helping Someone Struck By Lightning
- If a person is struck by lightning, call 911 and seek immediate medical attention.
- A lightning victim does not carry an electrical charge and is safe to touch.
- Knowing and implementing first aid measures, which include cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), can help a person struck by lightning survive. Local American Red Cross chapters and many fire departments offer first aid and CPR classes.
Dublin’s Lightning Prediction System
The City of Dublin uses the Thor Guard Lightning Prediction System in several community parks including both community pools. The system predicts lightning strikes by measuring electrostatic charges on the ground and in the air. Thor Guard is a computerized system that can predict the probability of a lightning strike within 8-20 minutes before it will strike. The system is 97% accurate within a 2 mile radius.
When there is a potential for a lightning strike within the coverage area, a strobe light will turn on and a warning horn will sound with an uninterrupted 15-second blast. Immediately upon hearing or seeing these signals park and pool users should leave the area and seek appropriate shelter even if it does not appear that severe weather is imminent. Anytime lightning is visible, the best course of action is to seek shelter immediately. When the system senses conditions are safe, the strobe light will turn off and the horn will sound three short, four-second blasts. Then normal activity may then resume. The system operates 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days per week from March through November; until 8 p.m. at the Community Pool South to align with operation hours.
The Thor Guard Lightning Prediction System is installed at five locations throughout the City. Lightning sensors and horns are located at Avery Park, Darree Fields, Emerald Fields and at the Community Pool South. The lightning prediction sensor at each location operates independent of the others.
This system is designed to help you assess conditions. Neither the signal, nor the system is intended to guarantee that conditions are safe.
Additional information can be found at www.thorguard.com