A Bolt of Safety
It’s not a surprise to see a note in this space about being safe around electricity. It’s something Farmers RECC preaches and teaches every day. From our lineworkers who work in this highly charged environment to each one of us being careful in our own homes, we stress safe electricity. Though we can control the flow of electricity through the power grid we carefully maintain, none of us can control lightning.
The last full week of June marks National Lightning Safety Awareness Week, and Farmers RECC hopes you will clip out this information from our friends at the National Weather Service and keep it handy for the next time you hear thunder rumbling through our area. Kentucky is in a region that experiences
more lightning than the rest of the country. Of the 25 million cloud to-ground lightning flashes in the United States each year, about 500,000 are in Kentucky. Of the 300 people struck by lightning in the U.S. each year, about 30 people are killed and others suffer lifelong disabilities. Most of these tragedies
can be prevented.
No place outside is safe when a thunderstorm is in the area. Get inside as soon as you hear thunder. Run to a substantial building or hard-topped metal vehicle as fast as you can. If you can’t get to a safe building or vehicle:
• Avoid open areas. Don’t be the tallest object in the area.
• Stay away from isolated tall trees, towers or utility poles. Lightning tends to strike the taller objects in an area.
• Stay away from metal conductors such as wires or fences. Metal does not attract lightning, but lightning can travel long distances through it.
• If you are with a group of people, spread out. While this actually increases the chance that someone might get struck, it tends to prevent multiple casualties, and increases the chances that someone could help if a person is struck.
Our experience at Farmers RECC teaches the importance of having a safety plan. Safety is no accident. Before our crews embark on any job, they discuss a safety plan. Before you plan an outdoor event or gathering, make a lightning safety plan. Know where you’ll go for safety and ensure you’ll have enough time to get there.
We admit this is easier said than done, but consider postponing activities if thunderstorms are forecast. Monitor the weather. Once outside, look for signs of a developing or approaching thunderstorm such as towering clouds, darkening skies or flashes of lightning. Don’t be afraid to ask. If you hear thunder, it’s time to get to a safe building or vehicle. Speak out. Stay safe this summer.