Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Boston, MA

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PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAUNTON MA
1019 AM EDT THU JUN 26 2014

...LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK CONTINUES - FACTS ABOUT
LIGHTNING STRIKE VICTIMS...

IN THE UNITED STATES...EACH YEAR...LIGHTNING KILLS AN AVERAGE OF
51 PEOPLE AND INJURES MORE THAN 300 PEOPLE. WHILE ANY DEATH IS
TRAGIC AND DEVASTATING TO THE FAMILY...INJURIES CAN BE EQUALLY
TRAGIC AND DEVASTATING. 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 IS 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 /CPR/ OR USE AN AUTOMATED EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATOR
/AED/.

ALSO...IF POSSIBLE...MOVE THE VICTIM TO A SAFER PLACE. DO NOT
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 WILL 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.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT WHILE MANY LIGHTNING VICTIMS
SURVIVE...THEIR LIVES ARE CHANGED FOREVER AND THEIR DREAMS FOR
THE FUTURE AND THOSE OF THEIR FAMILY WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.

LIGHTNING QUESTION OF THE DAY...
WHAT ARE THE CHANCES A PERSON WILL BE STRUCK BY LIGHTNING DURING
HIS OR HER LIFETIME?

ANSWER...BASED ON ESTIMATED CASES OF LIGHTNING DEATHS AND
INJURIES...THE NATIONWIDE ODDS OF BEING KILLED OR INJURED BY
LIGHTNING ARE ABOUT 1 IN 775 THOUSAND FOR EACH YEAR OF YOUR LIFE.
ASSUMING A LIFE SPAN OF 80 YEARS...THAT IS LIFETIME ODDS OF ABOUT
1 IN 10 THOUSAND. KEEP IN MIND...THOUGH...THAT YOUR BEHAVIOR
AROUND THUNDERSTORMS WILL DETERMINE YOUR INDIVIDUAL ODDS. IF YOU
ARE AWARE OF ALL THE THREATS POSED BY LIGHTNING AND ACT
ACCORDINGLY...YOUR CHANCES FOR BEING STRUCK BY LIGHTNING WILL BE
CONSIDERABLY LOWER. ON THE OTHER HAND...IF YOU ARE NOT AWARE OF
THOSE DANGERS OR DO NOT TAKE THE APPROPRIATE SAFETY PRECAUTIONS...
YOUR ODDS OF BEING STRUCK BY LIGHTNING WILL BE HIGHER.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT LIGHTNING OR LIGHTNING SAFETY...
VISIT THE NOAA LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEB SITE AT

HTTP://WWW.LIGHTNINGSAFETY.NOAA.GOV

$$

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