14th Symp on Education


How to Use Public Education to Change Lightning Safety Standards (and Save Lives and Injuries)

Mary Ann Cooper, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL; and R. L. Holle

For the last thirteen years a growing multidisciplinary team of lightning specialists in the United States has worked together to educate the media, the press, broadcast meteorologists and the National Weather Service about the dangers of lightning injury. By making themselves readily available, they have given countless interviews and worked as expert consultants for a myriad of media venues ranging from newspapers, to magazines, radio talk shows, television news programs, documentaries and talk shows both at the local and national level.

In 2001, the National Weather Service instituted National Lightning Safety Awareness Week (NLSAW). The NLSAW planning committee has assembled one of the most complete websites on lightning and lightning safety available: http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov which includes special sections for the media, for teachers and for local Weather Service personnel to equip them in their local and regional safety and education efforts, broadening the number of people who are capable of spreading information about lightning safety.

These efforts have resulted in greater awareness by the public of the injuries and the risks of lightning injury, the adoption of lighting safety guidelines in many sports and safety groups and resulted in a change in accepted lightning safety standards.

In addition, special attention has been given to working with students and teachers from the grade school to graduate school level, resulting in science fair prizes, 4-H presentations, the development of lightning safety protocols for schools, newspaper coverage, and improvement of lightning safety standards one community at a time. Work with parents and coaches has changed lightning safety awareness and evacuation plans for sports programs and leagues.

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

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