Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Midland/Odessa, TX

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NOUS44 KMAF 271342

842 AM CDT Fri Jun 27 2014 /742 AM MDT Fri Jun 27 2014/


The National Weather Service has declared the week of June 22nd
through 28th as LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK.  This is the last in
a series of five public information statements issued by the National
Weather Service office in Midland, TX containing information on
lightning and lightning safety.


Although houses and other substantial building offer the best
protection from lightning, each year many homes across the United
States are struck by lightning.  In fact, lightning causes about 4400
house fires and 1800 other structural fires each year, some of which
are deadly.  All totaled, lightning causes nearly $1 billion of
damage every year.

There are three main ways lightning enters homes and buildings:

  * a direct strike,
  * through wires or pipes that extend outside the structure, and
  * through the ground.

Regardless of the method of entrance, once in a structure, the
electrical current from a lightning strike can flow through your
home wiring, indoor plumbing, and your cable, satellite, and
telephone lines.

Before thunderstorm season approaches, here are a few tips:

  * If needed, have a licensed electrician check the wiring in your
    home and make sure your wiring is up to the codes in your area.
  * Make sure all smoke detectors are powered and operating properly.
    Test smoke alarms monthly and replace the batteries at least
    once every year.

Indoor safety depends on avoiding contact with items which could
conduct lightning inside the home.  Here are some indoor safety tips
to follow when a thunderstorm is nearby or thunder is heard:

  * Stay off porches and get inside.  Lightning can strike you
    if you`re standing or sitting on a covered porch or deck.
  * Don`t touch electrical equipment or cords.  If you plan to
    unplug any electronic equipment, do so WELL BEFORE the storm
  * Stay off corded phones.
  * Avoid contact with plumbing.  Do not wash your hands, take a
    shower, wash dishes, or do laundry.
  * Stay away from windows and doors.

In case your home is struck by lightning:

  * If you smell smoke, evacuate your home immediately and call 911.
  * Ask the fire department to check for hot spots in your walls
    with thermal imaging equipment. Some lightning-caused fires can
    smolder for hours.

Lightning Question of the Day:  What are lightning rods and how do
they work?

Lightning rods may protect a home from a direct lightning strike,
but they do not prevent a home from being struck.  They are designed
to intercept lightning, to provide a conductive path for the harmful
electrical discharge to follow, and to disperse the energy safely
into the ground.  While lightning rods may help protect a structure
from a direct lightning strike, a complete lightning protection
system is recommended to help protect wiring, pipes, appliances and
electronic equipment from the powerful electrical current produced
from a direct lightning strike.  Lightning protection systems should
be purchased from and installed by a certified lightning protection

Here`s a list of topics that were covered earlier this week:

MONDAY - Lightning and Lightning Safety:  An Introduction
TUESDAY - Lightning`s Most Deadly Activities
WEDNESDAY - Lightning Safety and Sports Activities
THURSDAY - Lightning Safety at Work

For additional information about lightning or lightning safety,
visit NOAA`s Lightning Safety Awareness web site at:

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