Please Note that you are viewing the non-styled version of the Ohio Committee For Severe Weather Awareness website. Either your browser does not support Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) or it is disabled. We suggest upgrading your browser to the latest version of your favorite Internet browser.
Spring/Summer Severe Weather Terms
Thunderstorms & Lightning Safety
Lightning Safety Awareness Toolkit for Communities
Flood Information and Safety Tips
Flood Insurance Information
FEMA: Flood Insurance Program Changes
FEMA Brochure: Build Back Safer & Stronger
Turn Around Don't Drown!
Fire Safety And Preparedness
ODMH - Dealing With Emotions After The Storm
Summertime is the peak season for one of the nation’s deadliest weather phenomena - lightning. According to the National Weather Service, the United States has a 10-year average of 44 fatalities annually due to lightning strikes.
The NWS reports that 34 people died of lightning strikes in 2009. The incidents occurred in 22 states and Puerto Rico. Ohio reported no deaths caused by lightning last year.
Of the 34 lightning-strike fatalities:
Lightning Safety Week, promoted by the National Weather Service, is conducted each year during the last full week of June. The purpose of the week is to help safeguard people from the hazards of lightning and to lower deaths and injuries caused by lightning strikes.
Just remember: When thunder roars, go indoors!
Watch for Developing Thunderstorms - Thunderstorms are most likely to develop on spring or summer days but can occur year round. As the sun heats the air, pockets of warmer air start to rise and cumulus clouds form. Continued heating can cause these clouds to grow vertically into towering cumulus clouds, often the first sign of a developing thunderstorm.
Seek shelter before an approaching thunderstorm - Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles away from where it is raining. That’s about the distance you can hear thunder. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance. Seek shelter immediately! When thunder roars, go indoors!
Minimize the risk of being struck during outdoor activities - Most lightning deaths and injuries occur in the summer. During organized outdoor sporting events, coaches, camp counselors and other adults must stop activities at the first clap of thunder to ensure that everyone has time to get to a large building or enclosed vehicle. Leaders of outdoor events should have a written emergency plan that all staff are aware of and enforce.
Things to avoid while indoors - While inside, stay off land lines or corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity. Stay away from indoor and outdoor pools, bathtubs, showers, and other plumbing. Buy surge suppressors for key equipment. Install ground fault protectors on circuits near water or outdoors. When inside, wait 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder and lightning before going out again.
Helping a Lightning Strike Victim. - If a person is struck by lightning, call 911 and get medical care immediately. Cardiac arrest and irregularities, burns and nerve damage are common injuries when people are struck by lightning. You are not in physical danger when helping a lightning victim. Knowing first aid measures, which include cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), can help lightning-strike victims survive. American Red Cross chapters and local fire departments often offer first aid and CPR classes.
Lightning is dangerous - By knowing what to do during severe weather incidents, you can greatly increase your safety and the safety of those around you. At the first clap of thunder, go inside a preferably large building or fully enclosed vehicle and wait 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder and lightning before going back outside. Remember: When thunder roars, go indoors!
Safe Shelter from Storms - A house or other substantial building offers the best protection from lightning. For a shelter to provide adequate protection from lightning, it must contain a mechanism for conducting the electrical current from the point of contact to the ground. These mechanisms may be on the outside of the structure, or contained within the walls of the structure, or a combination of the two. On the outside, lightning can travel along the outer shell of the building or follow metal gutters and downspouts to the ground. Inside, lightning can follow conductors such as electrical wiring, plumbing and telephone lines to the ground.
Unsafe Sheltering - Unless specifically designed to be lightning safe, small structures do little, if anything to protect people from lightning. Many small, open shelters on golf courses, parks and athletic fields are designed to protect people from rain and sun, but not lightning. A shelter that does not contain plumbing or wiring throughout, or some other mechanism for grounding from the roof to the ground is not safe. Small wooden, vinyl or metal sheds offer little or no protection from lightning and should be avoided during thunderstorms.
Protect Your Pets - Outside dog houses are not lightning-safe. Dogs that are chained to trees or wire runners can easily fall victim to lightning strikes. Consider bringing your pets inside the home or garage during thunderstorms.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2008, the insurance industry paid more than 246,200 claims valued over $1 billion for damage caused by lightning. The average cost of a lightning-related claim was $4,329. Even though the number of lightning claims increased 39 percent, the dollar amount of the losses increased only 13 percent. Click here to learn more about the cost of lightning strikes from the Insurance Information Institute.