The link between leisure activity and death-by-lightning has been well established, but it's not golf that's the biggest worry.
Signaling the start of "Lightning Safety Awareness Week," NOAA's National Weather Service released details of a new report Monday that finds the majority of lightning deaths since 2006 occurred while victims were engaged in leisure activities, with "fishing topping the list at 26 deaths."
John Jensenius, a lightning safety specialist with the National Weather Service, conducted the study by examining demographic information for 238 deaths attributed to lightning over the last seven years.
NOAA released these findings on the first day of National Lightning Safety Awareness Week to call attention to the danger of outdoor activities during a thunderstorm.
In the study, 82 percent of people killed by lightning were male, and of the 238 lightning deaths, 152 were associated with the following leisure activities:
- Fishing: 26 deaths
- Camping: 15 deaths
- Boating: 14 deaths
- Soccer: 12 deaths
- Golf: 8 deaths
- Other (incl. Swimming, Walking, Running, Riding Recreational Vehicles, Being At The Beach, Picnicking and Relaxing In Yard): 77 deaths
NOAA's lightning awareness campaign aimed at the golf community began in 2001 and they believe it's made a significant difference. They report that "lightning-related deaths on golf courses have decreased by 75 percent."
There have been seven lightning fatalities recorded so far in 2013.
Lightning Safety Tips (via NOAA/NWS)
IF YOU ARE INSIDE DURING A THUNDERSTORM
- Stay off corded phones
- Stay off wired computers
- Stay off any electrical equipment that puts you in direct contact with electricity
- Stay away from windows
- Stay away from doors
- Stay off porches
- Do not lie on concrete floors
- Do not lean against concrete walls
- Avoid plumbing (incl. sinks, baths and faucets)
IF YOU ARE OUTSIDE DURING A THUNDERSTORM
- If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you
- NO PLACE outside is safe
- When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter that's either 1) a substantial building that has electricity or plumbing, or 2) an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with the windows up
- Stay in safe shelter for at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder
LAST RESORT IF YOU ARE CAUGHT OUTSIDE WITHOUT SAFE SHELTER DURING A THUNDERSTORM:
- Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks
- Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water
- Never lie flat on the ground
- Never stand under an isolated tree for shelter
- Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter
Stay away from barbed wire fences, power lines, windmills, and other objects that conduct electricity