Pennsylvania is a great place to live, work and play. It’s a state with its own personality, and a place we’re proud to serve.
That said, the Keystone State has a distinction that should make us all think and take care at this time of year.
From 1959 through 2015, Pennsylvania was one of the top 10 states with the most lightning-related deaths, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The NOAA reports that 133 people in Pennsylvania were killed by lightning during that time – more than New Jersey, California and Connecticut combined.
That’s a sobering number, and a reminder that lightning is more than just a summer inconvenience. It’s a real safety risk.
The good news is this: A few simple steps will go a long way to protect you. Here are five tips from the NOAA that can keep you safe the next time lightning threatens.
1. Stay weather-wise. Be aware of the day’s forecast, especially if outdoor activities are planned. Don’t let a storm sneak up on you.
2. Don’t be a hero. We all get frustrated when weather gets in the way of our plans. Still, if a storm threatens, put off your plans and do the smart thing: Find shelter quickly, and stay there until the storm passes. Whatever you planned to do – yard work, jogging, golf, whatever – will still be there when the storm is gone.
3. When thunder roars, go indoors. Any time you can see or hear an electrical storm, there’s risk of lightning in your area. Don’t wait until the storm is right above you to get inside. A fully enclosed building with permanent electrical wiring is the best shelter. The next-best choice is a metal-topped vehicle with the windows rolled up.
4. We’ll say it again: Indoors. Experts say there’s no such thing as a truly safe place outdoors during an electrical storm. Sheds, pavilions, ditches and covered porches all carry some risk. That’s why it’s so important to know the forecast and be ready to find safe shelter if needed.
5. Share these tips with kids. Are you a parent? Grandparent? Aunt? Uncle? Teacher? Coach? In any of those roles, you can help children stay smart around lightning by sharing safety tips with them. And, of course, you should set a good example for kids by doing the right thing when storms threaten. Don’t send the message that five more minutes in the pool won’t hurt anybody.
At PPL, we’re working to reduce lightning’s impact on customer service. Our investments in lightning protection have reduced the number of lightning-related outages on our transmission system by 74 percent over the past five years.
But, while we can stop lightning from knocking out power, we can’t stop it from being a safety risk. So our employees follow smart safety precautions. We urge you to do the same.
By staying safe, we can enjoy all that summer offers in Pennsylvania.