(MARIETTA, OH) - With the summer comes severe weather, and as you’ve heard for the past several weeks in our forecasts, there has been a steady dose of heavy rain and thunderstorm threats in the area.
And, with some of those storms comes lightning.
That’s why the National Weather Service and the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness have declared this week Lightning Safety Awareness Week, according to Kelli Blackwell with the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.
Blackwell says 13 people across 24 states died of lightning strikes last year, but none of those were in Ohio—although the EMA has received one report of a lightning strike in the state this year.
She says awareness is important even though lightning strikes have decreased, because those strikes injure more people than they kill.
“People are not getting hit as much and are being aware of the weather,” she says.
If you are caught outside in a storm, Blackwell says you’ll need to seek sturdy shelter immediately in an enclosed area, such as a nearby building or other enclosure.
“Places that are not safe are garages, car ports, and under a tree. Also, not near a body of water,” she adds.
The Ohio EMA also suggests, in the event of severe weather, that you develop a disaster plan to respond to lightning and other storm hazards.
The EMA also says to organize and restock your home’s emergency supply kits so you can be prepared for any incidents that may involve injuries.