You have probably heard the following slogans regarding lightning:
- When thunder roars, go indoors
- If you see it, flee it
- If you hear it, clear it
- Lightning kills; play it safe
Sunday, June 23, marks the beginning of Lightning Awareness Week, which promotes awareness and safety, and brings attention to the growing number of people injured and/or killed by lightning strikes each year. According to the National Lightning Safety Institute, lightning is the number two thunderstorm-related killer in the U.S. With many energy, utility, petrochemical and agriculture businesses conducting operations outdoors, this type of weather threat could be potentially dangerous for personnel. Lightning can cause power outages, which disrupt operations and supply chains, or cause employee injuries, and death, which can incur safety violations from regulatory agencies, or legal action.
While most businesses have heard from meteorologists and business continuity experts about the importance of hurricane preparedness, one element of a hurricane which a company must not forget is lightning. FEMA’s Ready.gov website explains that lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far away as 10 miles from the nearest rainfall. To prepare your operations for such an unexpected weather threat, be sure to include FEMA’s 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule in your severe weather response plan:
“Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.”
ImpactWeather provides our clients with lightning monitoring, and many times after an extreme lightning event, we receive messages from clients about “close calls”. We’re always glad they were only close, and not a direct hit, but even if that were to occur, we know they are prepared and in a better position to resume normal operations as quickly as possible. By stressing the importance of safety to your employees you are able to protect your operations and alleviate any unnecessary downtime or interruptions.