ATLANTA (WTOC) - Lightning Safety Weeks starts Sunday and runs through June. 30.
Lightning is the No. 3 weather-related killer in Georgia, according to the National Weather Service. In 2010, Georgia led the nation with the highest number of lightning-related deaths.
A bolt of lightning ignited the Honey Prairie Complex blaze in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge last spring, which consumed more than 400,000 acres and burned for about 10 months.
The Georgia Emergency Management Agency's Ready Georgia Campaign offers these safety tips:
- If you can hear thunder that means you're close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Find shelter immediately.
- If a storm approaches, find shelter in a sturdy building or hard top automobile. Keep all windows closed.
- Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Unplug appliances. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances.
- Avoid taking a bath or shower or running water. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
- Draw blinds and shades over windows. If wind throws objects around that break windows, the shades can help keep glass from coming into your home.
- Turn off the air conditioner. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressor, resulting in a costly repair job.
- If outside, go to a low-lying, open place away from trees, poles, or metal objects. Make sure the place you pick is not subject to flooding.
- Is someone is struck by lightning; they don't carry an electrical charge and can be handled safely, according to GEMA. Call 911.
GEMA recommends getting a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio for real-time weather alerts. Ready Georgia is currently hosting a contest for the chance to win a free weather radio. Visit www.ready.ga.gov and create a Ready profile for a chance to win.