SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Thursday is day four of Lightning Awareness Week and our focus is on when outdoor events need to be stopped due to lightning and where to take refuge.
People spend more time outdoors and at sporting events during the summer, when thunderstorms are most likely to develop. Having a lightning safety plan can save your life and the lives of others, especially at large organized events.
Without the proper knowledge and education, event planners can make stormy decisions based on past experience and a desire to continue with events, such as athletic competitions. This puts safety at risk by not following proper guidelines.
The National Weather Service recommends that the following questions be asked to properly assess the weather situation.
When to stop activities When thunderstorms are in the area, the main lightning threat zone extends 6 to 10 miles from the base of the thunderstorms. If you see lightning in the area of your activity, you may be struck. If you hear thunder, the lightning is usually within 10 to 15 miles of your location. Also keep an eye on the sky above you. Thunderstorms may develop just over your area. If the sky looks threatening or you see lightning and hear thunder, you should seek safe shelter.
“When the thunder roars, go inside”
When can the activity resume? Once thunderstorms have passed, you are still at risk of being struck by lightning. It is recommended that you wait at least 30 minutes before resuming your activities and sports games.
Who should be responsible for monitoring the weather and making decisions? Someone at the event who is not responsible for any other function should be responsible for monitoring the weather. They need to keep abreast of current forecasts and conditions. The weather monitor should be aware of the guidelines and ensure they are followed keeping in mind the number of people present at the event or activity to ensure a quick reaction when weather conditions deteriorate.
What is the reaction if someone is struck by lightning? If a person is struck by lightning, they can often survive with prompt medical intervention. First, call 911 and ask for paramedics. Second, administer CPR or an electronic defibrillator. Lightning causes cardiac arrest due to the electrical current disrupting the heart’s natural electrical impulses that keep it moving.