OSWEGO — Lightning is the second greatest cause of storm-related deaths in the U.S., killing more than tornadoes or hurricanes over a 30-year average.Â Only floods kill more.Â Lightning also inflicts devastating, life-long, debilitating injuries on many more than it kills.Â Fortunately, most of these lightning deaths and injuries can be easily avoided.
Dr. Dennis Norfleet, Oswego County Director of Public Health, reminds residents that â€œno place outside is safe withinÂ six milesÂ of a thunderstorm! Use the weather forecast to plan your outdoor activities to avoid the threat.â€Â The forecast from the local National Weather Service office can be found atÂ www.weather.gov.
The safest place to be during a thunderstorm is inside a house or other fully enclosed building with wiring and plumbing.Â Once inside, stay away from corded telephones, electrical appliances and plumbing.Â Donâ€™t watch lightning while standing near windows or in doorways.Â If you canâ€™t get to a house, a vehicle with a metal roof and metal sides is a good second choice.
â€œDonâ€™t wait for rain to go inside, when thunder roars, go indoors. As soon as you hear thunder, get to a safe place. Stay inside for 30Â minutes or more after hearing the last thunder,â€Â says Dr. Norfleet.
If you cannot get to a safe building or vehicle, move away from elevated places, open areas such as sports fields, beaches, golf courses, tall isolated objects like trees, and water.Â Never go under trees to keep dry during a thunderstorm.
For more information on lightning safety, visit www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov or call the Oswego County Health Department weekdays at 349-3547 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3547.