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PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT 
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LITTLE ROCK AR
600 AM CDT FRI JUN 27 2014

...LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK...

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

Today's topic is LIGHTNING SAFETY AROUND THE HOME.

Although houses and other substantial buildings offer the 
best protection from lightning, each year many homes across 
the United States are struck by lightning. In fact, on 
average, 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 in damages 
each year. 

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 
and phone wires, the plumbing, and/or radio and television 
reception systems. 

Indoor safety depends on avoiding contact with items that 
could conduct lightning within the home. Here are some 
indoor safety tips to follow when a thunderstorm is in the 
area. 

 1. Don't touch electrical equipment or cords. If you plan to
    unplug any electronic equipment, do so WELL BEFORE the 
    storm arrives.
 2. Stay off corded phones.
 3. Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, take 
    a shower, wash dishes, or do laundry.
 4. Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.

In case your home is struck by lightning: 
 * Evacuate your home immediately if you smell smoke and 
   call 911.
 * Call your local fire department and, if possible, have 
   them check for hot spots in your walls with thermal
   imaging equipment.
 * Make sure all smoke detectors are powered and operating 
   properly.
 * If needed, have a licensed electrician check the wiring in 
   your home.

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

Lightning rods 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 help 
protect a structure from a direct lightning strike, a complete 
lightning protection system is needed to help prevent harmful 
electrical surges and possible fires caused by lightning 
entering a structure via wires and pipes. Lightning protection 
systems should be purchased from and installed by a certified 
lightning protection specialist.

For additional information about lightning or lightning
safety, visit NOAA's Lightning Safety Awareness web site 
at:
 http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov

$$

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