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Letter from the Chief-Lightning Safety Tips

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Dear Neighbors,

There's an old saying to denote something is very unlikely to occur- "You're more likely to be struck by lightning than." Well, the fact of the matter is that lightning strikes happen to people a lot more than you think; and, very often with catastrophic consequences. Put another way- you're 1,000 times more likely to be killed by lightning than you are to win the New York lottery. Here are some facts and safety tips from the NOAA, the NFPA, and The Weather Channel to keep in mind:

NO PLACE outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area!!
.If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.
.When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter: a substantial building with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up.
.There are three main ways lightning enters homes and buildings: (1) a direct strike, (2) through wires or pipes that extend outside the structure, and (3) through the ground. Regardless of the method of entrance, once in a structure, the lightning can travel through the electrical, phone, plumbing, and radio/television reception systems. Lightning can also travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring.
.Phone use is the leading cause of indoor lightning injuries in the United States. Lightning can travel long distances in both phone and electrical wires, particularly in rural areas.
.Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths and faucets.
.Stay away from windows and doors as these can provide the path for a direct strike to enter a home.
.Basements are a safe place to go during thunderstorms. However, avoid contact with concrete walls which may contain metal reinforcing bars, and avoid washers and dryers since they not only have contacts with the plumbing and electrical systems, but also contain an electrical path to the outside through the dryer vent.

If you are caught outside with no safe shelter nearby the following actions may reduce your risk:
.Never seek shelter under trees.
.Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water.
.Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (metal fences, power lines, etc.)
. If your skin tingles or your hair stands on the end, a lightning strike may be about to happen. Crouch down on the balls of your feet with your feet close together. Keep your hands on your knees and lower your head. Get as low as possible without touching your hands or knees to the ground. DO NOT LIE DOWN!
.If you are swimming, fishing or boating and there are clouds, dark skies and distant rumbles of thunder or flashes of lightning, get to land immediately and seek shelter.
.If you are in a boat and cannot get to shore, crouch down in the middle of the boat. Go below if possible.

When someone is struck by lightning, get emergency medical help as soon as possible. If more than one person is struck by lightning, treat those who are unconscious first. They are at greatest risk of dying. A person struck by lightning may appear dead, with no pulse or breath. Often the person can be revived with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). There is no danger to anyone helping a person who has been struck by lightning - no electric charge remains. CPR should be attempted immediately.

Stay Safe!
Dan McConnell
Chief of Department




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