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National Lighting Safety Awareness Week
June 21-27, 2009


Lightning kills or injures hundreds each year. There have been 9 deaths in just the first half of June alone! Explore the wealth of resources on the NWS lightning safety website.

Monday    Tuesday    Wednesday    Thursday    Friday   


THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS DECLARED THE WEEK OF JUNE 21ST
THROUGH JUNE 27TH, LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK. THIS IS THE
LAST IN A SERIES OF FIVE PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENTS TO BE ISSUED
BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE IN NEWPORT/MOREHEAD CITY,
NORTH CAROLINA CONTAINING INFORMATION ON LIGHTNING AND LIGHTNING
SAFETY.

...THE FACTS ABOUT LIGHTNING STRIKE VICTIMS...

IN THE UNITED STATES, EACH YEAR, LIGHTNING KILLS AN AVERAGE OF 62
PEOPLE WITH SEVERAL HUNDRED INJURIES BASED ON DOCUMENTED CASES.
WHILE ANY DEATH IS TRAGIC AND DEVASTATING TO THE FAMILY, INJURIES
CAN BE EQUALLY TRAGIC AND EVEN MORE DEVASTATING TO THE FAMILY. FOR
THOSE WHO HAVE A RELATIVE THAT SUFFERS A SIGNIFICANT DISABILITY FROM
LIGHTNING, LIFE CHANGES FOREVER. IN ADDITION TO THE PHYSICAL PAIN
AND MENTAL ANGUISH SUFFERED BY THE VICTIM AND THE VICTIM'S FAMILY,
THE INCIDENT MAY LEAD TO A LOSS OF INCOME FOR THE FAMILY. OVER TIME,
MEDICAL EXPENSES FOR TREATMENT MAY DRAIN THE FAMILY'S ASSETS.

IF SOMEONE IS STRUCK BY LIGHTNING, IT'S IMPORTANT THAT THEY RECEIVE
THE APPROPRIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION IMMEDIATELY. SOME DEATHS CAN BE
PREVENTED IF THE VICTIMS ARE ATTENDED TO PROMPTLY. LIGHTNING VICTIMS
DO NOT CARRY AN ELECTRICAL CHARGE AND ARE SAFE TO HANDLE. FIRST,
HAVE SOMEONE CALL 9 1 1 OR YOUR LOCAL AMBULANCE SERVICE. CHECK TO
SEE THAT THE VICTIM IS BREATHING AND HAS A PULSE, AND CONTINUE TO
MONITOR THE VICTIM UNTIL HELP ARRIVES. CARDIAC ARREST IS THE
IMMEDIATE CAUSE OF DEATH IN LIGHTNING FATALITIES. IF NECESSARY,
BEGIN CARDIOPULMONARY RESUSCITATION. ALSO, IF POSSIBLE, MOVE THE
VICTIM TO A SAFER PLACE. DON'T LET THE RESCUERS BECOME LIGHTNING
VICTIMS. LIGHTNING CAN STRIKE THE SAME PLACE TWICE.

PHYSICALLY, ONLY FEW LIGHTNING STRIKE VICTIMS ACTUALLY SUFFER BURNS.
DUE TO THE CONDUCTIVITY OF THE HUMAN BODY, LIGHTNING BURNS ARE
USUALLY MINOR, AND MOST LIGHTNING BURNS ARE CAUSED WHEN OBJECTS NEXT
TO THE BODY SUCH AS NECKLACES, RINGS, OR METAL COINS ARE HEATED BY
THE LIGHTNING. IN ADDITION, SWEAT, VAPORIZED BY LIGHTNING, CAN ALSO
CAUSE BURNS.

MENTALLY, LIGHTNING STRIKE VICTIMS MAY FACE MANY CHALLENGES THAT
THEY'LL HAVE TO LIVE WITH FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. WHEN THE
BRAIN IS AFFECTED BY A LIGHTNING STRIKE, THE PERSON OFTEN HAS
DIFFICULTLY WITH MANY OF THE MENTAL PROCESSES THAT MOST PEOPLE TAKE
FOR GRANTED. THE PERSON MAY SUFFER FROM SHORT-TERM MEMORY LOSS, AND
MAY HAVE DIFFICULTY MENTALLY STORING NEW INFORMATION AND ACCESSING
OLD INFORMATION. VICTIMS MAY OFTEN FIND IT VERY DIFFICULT TO CARRY
ON MORE THAN ONE TASK AT A TIME, AND MAY BE EASILY DISTRACTED. THEIR
PERSONALITY MAY CHANGE AND THEY MAY BECOME EASILY IRRITATED.

VICTIMS OFTEN COMPLAIN OF BECOMING EASILY FATIGUED AND MAY BECOME
EXHAUSTED AFTER ONLY A FEW HOURS WORK. THIS MAY BE BECAUSE MENTAL
TASKS THAT WERE ONCE AUTOMATIC MAY NOW REQUIRE INTENSE CONCENTRATION
TO ACCOMPLISH. ALTHOUGH SOME VICTIMS MAY SLEEP EXCESSIVELY AT FIRST,
AFTER A FEW WEEKS, MANY FIND IT DIFFICULT TO SLEEP MORE THAN TWO OR
THREE HOURS AT A TIME.

ANOTHER COMMON LONG TERM PROBLEM FOR SURVIVORS IS PAIN. MEDICALLY,
PAIN IS DIFFICULT TO QUANTIFY. LIGHTNING STRIKE VICTIMS OFTEN SUFFER
IRREPARABLE NERVE DAMAGE FROM WHICH THEY WILL SUFFER FOR THE REST OF
THEIR LIVES. THE PAIN CAN BE SO INTENSE THAT IT AFFECTS THE PERSON'S
ABILITY TO FUNCTION. MANY SURVIVORS COMPLAIN OF CHRONIC HEADACHES,
SOME OF WHICH ARE VERY INTENSE AND DEBILITATING.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT LIGHTNING SAFETY VISIT NOAA'S LIGHTNING
SAFETY WEBSITE AT WWW.LIGHTNINGSAFETY.NOAA.GOV

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National Weather Service
Newport/Morehead City, NC Weather Forecast Office
533 Roberts Rd, Newport, NC 28570
(252) 223-5737
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Page last modified: June 19, 2009
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