88th Annual Meeting (20-24 January 2008)

Wednesday, 23 January 2008: 9:00 AM
Lightning kills – play it safe -- NOAA's efforts to educate the public on the dangers of lightning
222 (Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
John S. Jensenius Jr., NOAA/NWS, Gray, ME; and D. Franklin and S. J. Hodanish
Poster PDF (469.3 kB)
Based on statistics for the 30-year period ending in 2006, lightning is the second greatest storm–related killer in the United States, second only to flooding. To reduce the number of lightning deaths and injuries in this country, NOAA and the National Weather Service (NWS) have been working to find ways to draw attention to this underrated killer. In 2001, NOAA and the NWS teamed up with non-governmental organizations and individuals to find ways to draw attention to the dangers associated with lightning. Since then, NOAA's “Lightning Safety Awareness Team” has worked to provide lightning safety information to the media and the public. To highlight the dangers of lightning, NOAA has declared the last full week in June as Lightning Safety Awareness Week and has worked with various organizations and agencies involved with outdoor activities to help deliver lightning safety messages.

Education and awareness are critical components of NOAA's efforts. People are more likely to respond to the threats posed by lightning if they understand those threats and the science behind the threats. Educators and the media play an important role in delivering this educational and safety information to the public. Consequently, one of the main goals of NOAA's Lightning Safety Awareness Team is to assemble as much information as possible, and make it available for use by others. NOAA's Lightning Safety Web site was set up to provide a resource for others to obtain information on lightning and lightning safety. In large part, NOAA depends on educators and the media to provide this information to their students, readers, or listeners.

In this talk, we will discus NOAA's educational and awareness efforts to reduce the number of lightning casualties in this country. We will show some of the specific resources NOAA, the NWS, and NOAA's Lightning Safety Awareness Team have made available to the public and media. In addition, we will talk about some of the coordinated efforts to promote lightning safety between NOAA and non-governmental organizations and individuals.

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