Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Summer is the season for sudden, often violent, storms.

With those storms comes lightning.

This month, instead of energy-saving tips, we’re presenting life-saving tips.

The National Weather Service estimates that 58 people are killed a year by lightning and another 300 are injured.

If you are outdoors during a thunderstorm and can’t take shelter:
  • Find a car, preferably one with a solid roof, which will give you more support than the fabric on a convertible. Don’t touch anything that can conduct electricity: the radio, the steering wheel and ignition, the shifter.
  • Stay away from water.
  • Stay away from trees, power lines and light or flag poles.
  • Don’t head for high ground or open spaces. If you are caught in the open, lie down or squat with your head between your knees to make yourself smaller.
  • Don’t stand near other people. If you are with others, put at least 20 feet between each person.

If you are indoors:
  • Stay off the phone and away from lines. The leading cause of indoor lightning injuries is being on the phone during a storm.
  • Stay away from electrical wires and outlets.
  • Stay away from TVs and stop playing video games.
  • Unplug appliances and electronics before a storm nears. And, by the way, a surge protector won’t save anything from a lightning strike, so unplug it too.
  • Stay away from water and pipes, including sinks, baths and faucets. A storm is not the time to wash dishes, shower or take a bath.
  • Don’t do the laundry either. Not only are you in contact with plumbing and electrical, but lightning can follow the path through the dryer vent.
  • Beware of hidden metal: Avoid your garage because the floor is probably concrete poured over a wire mesh.
  • Basements are usually safe, but stay away from the walls, which may have been constructed with rebar.
  • Bring pets inside, even if they have a dog house.

If someone is struck by lightning:
  • Call 911 immediately.
  • Assess the situation. How many victims are there? Is the storm over? Is it safe to administer first aid? Do you need to move the victim?
  • Check for breathing and heartbeat. Lightning strikes often cause cardiac arrest. Check for a pulse in the victim's neck or behind the victim's knee.
  • Administer CPR if the victim isn’t breathing and has no heartbeat. To administer: give the victim two rescue breaths followed by 30 fast chest compressions in 30 seconds. Continue until help arrives.
  • Check for other injuries. Lightning can also cause burns, shock, brain injury, muscular and skeletal damage or broken bones.

Planet Green Game

Brought to you by Starbucks Coffee Company in collaboration with Global Green USA