Summer Thunderstorms Prompt Lightning Safety Week

June 9, 2008

News Highlights

  • Lightning Safety Week, June 22-28.
  • “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors.”
  • Sign up for CEAN to stay updated about approaching thunderstorms.

More Information 

Lightning Safety Week, June 22-28, will emphasize the dangers of lightning and how to prepare for and stay safe during summer thunderstorms.

In the United States, lightning kills an average of 62 people per year and every year, hundreds of lightning injuries are reported. Injuries can cause numerous long-term problems such as memory loss, attention deficits, sleep disorders, dizziness, stiffness in joints and depression.

At the first clap of thunder, the smartest decision is to go indoors or into an enclosed vehicle, as highlighted by the theme of Lightning Safety Week, “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors.” Remain inside until 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides these safety tips:

  • Monitor developing thunderstorms. The “Flash to Bang” method can help estimate your distance from lightning. If you see lightning, count the number of seconds until you hear thunder. Divide the number of seconds by five to get the distance in miles.
  • If you can hear thunder, seek shelter.  Even if it is not raining, lightning can strike within 10 miles of an area that is experiencing rain.
  • Stop all outdoor activities at the first clap of thunder to give yourself time to move indoors. Leaders of outdoor events should have a plan for moving participants inside.
  •  If you cannot go indoors, squat low to the ground to make yourself the smallest target possible. Go to a low-lying area and stay away from trees, poles and metal objects.
  • Avoid electrical equipment, plumbing, windows and concrete floors and walls when indoors.
  • Call 9-1-1 immediately if someone has been struck by lightning. People who have been struck by lightning do not carry an electrical charge

Stay updated about approaching thunderstorms by signing up for Community Emergency Alert Network (CEAN), which sends emergency alerts and day-to-day updates about severe weather and traffic to registered users.

For more information about lightening safety, call the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management at 703-324-2362, TTY 711.


Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
Contact: Merni Fitzgerald, Director of Public Affairs
703-324-3187, TTY 711, Fax 703-324-2010
Media Pager: 703-324-NEWS (6397)

Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. To request this information in an alternate format, call the Office of Public Affairs at 703-324-3187, TTY 711.

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