For Release:June 24, 2015 – , Office of Communications (405) 271-5601
More than 230 deaths in the United States since 2006 have been attributed to lightning, and two of those deaths have occurred in Oklahoma. Nationally, there were 26 deaths in 2014; and there have already been nine deaths in 2015.
As part of our mission to promote health and prevent injury, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) supports NOAA’s National Weather Service in raising awareness for lightning safety during National Lightning Safety Awareness Week, June 22-27.
NOAA reports that 64 percent of the deaths reported from 2006-2014 were a result of being struck by lightning while doing leisure activities such as fishing, camping, boating and playing sports. It is for this reason, the OSDH reminds Oklahomans to monitor the weather forecasts and postpone or cancel outdoor activities when thunderstorms are in the area. Lightning can strike from 10 miles away, so if people can hear thunder, they are in danger of being struck by lightning.
The only safe places to be during a thunderstorm are in a building with four walls and a roof, or in a car. A hut, tent, cabana or other rain shelter will not protect a person from being struck by lightning.