June 24th to 28th is lightning awareness week at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA did a study on lightning deaths that occurred in the past 7 years and the activities that individuals were participating in at the time they were struck by lightning. The study discovered that 64% of the deaths were people participating in leisure activities. The types of leisure activities were eye-opening:
The remaining activities were other leisure activities such as going to the beach, swimming, walking, running, riding recreational vehicles, even relaxing in the backyard.
No place outdoors is safe when it comes to lightning. In fact, in NJ there have been cases where people were injured or killed just being outdoors.
Even seeking shelter under a tarp or tent is not a safe place during a thunderstorm. Recently a group of Boy Scouts was injured during their outdoor camping trip when lightning struck a nearby tree.
So what do you do when you hear a thunderstorm in your area? Get indoors as quickly as possible.
According to NOAA “lightning can strike from 10 miles away, so if people can hear thunder, they are in danger of being struck by lightning.”