88th Annual Meeting (20-24 January 2008)

Wednesday, 23 January 2008
Recent changes in lightning safety
Exhibit Hall B (Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
William P. Roeder, Struck by Lightning.org, Yarmouth, MA
Poster PDF (295.6 kB)
Lightning is the second leading cause of storm related deaths in the United States, only floods kill more. Lightning kills more than tornadoes or hurricanes. Lightning also inflicts life-long debilitating injury on many more than it kills. Fortunately, most lightning casualties can be easily, quickly, and cheaply prevented. Public education is the key. The professional meteorological community is encouraged to increase public awareness of the lightning threat and of the lightning safety rules. Broadcast meteorologists are especially encouraged to participate proactively in lightning safety education, given their ready access to large audiences.

It is important that meteorologists present consistent information on lightning safety. This presentation will survey recent updates in lightning safety to help meteorologists maintain that consistency. Six topics will be covered: 1) upgrading the safety provided by vehicles with solid metal tops and solid metal sides, 2) cueing on hearing thunder to seek a safe place, rather than 30 seconds between lightning and its thunder, 3) lightning statistics for youths, 4) no longer teaching last minute outdoor lightning risk reduction to general audiences, 5) adding Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) to lightning first aid, and 6) a review of common myths that continue to detract from lightning safety.

Meteorologists can play a decisive and profound role in the battle against lightning casualties. Meteorologists, especially broadcast meteorologists, are encouraged to join this vital public service to save lives and avoid crippling injuries.

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