14th Symp on Education


Lightning safety for schools: An update

James B. Lushine, NOAA/NWS, Miami, FL; and W. P. Roeder and R. J. Vavrek

In the last 30 years, lightning has been the second leading cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S., killing more that either tornadoes or hurricanes. Lightning also inflicts life-long debilitating injuries on many more than it kills. Fortunately, most lightning casualties can be quickly, easily, and cheaply prevented. However, lightning safety is inconvenient, so you must be diligent in following your lightning safety plan.

Schools can play a vital role in lightning safety. Schools need to have a lightning safety plan to protect students and staff while at school, especially for all outdoor activities. A recent study has shown that school-related activities are the third-leading cause of lightning casualties among children in Florida. A lightning safety plan is most needed where the lightning threat is greatest, which in the U.S. includes the Southeast, Gulf States, Midwest, and along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. However, no place in the U.S. is free of lightning danger. Even places with relatively less lightning need to have a lightning safety plan since people may be less aware of the threat when it does occur. Schools can also play an important role in lightning safety by educating their students and staff on personal lightning safety procedures, so that they can protect themselves while not at school. Finally, schools can also play a vital role in lightning safety through educating their communities about lightning safety.

This paper will establish the importance of lightning safety for schools, provide a good lightning safety plan, review lightning safety procedures, and highlight examples of community lightning safety education done by some schools. Resources to help schools implement effective lightning safety plans will be listed. Lightning protection for school facilities and surge protection for electrical appliances and electronic devices will also be briefly discussed.

By proactively teaching lightning safety to our children, the authors hope we can all help to drastically reduce lightning casualties by the next generation. Just as we’ve made great strides in other safety topics, the next generation of children will grow up with lightning safety being second nature. Schools are one of the key partners is this long-range lightning safety goal.

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (564K)

Uploaded Presentation File(s):
14EDU-Ltg Sfty for Schoolsb.ppt

Session 1, K-12 and Popular Initiatives
Monday, 10 January 2005, 1:30 PM-5:30 PM

Previous paper  Next paper

Browse or search entire meeting

AMS Home Page