As beach season kicks off in Connecticut, keep your eyes to the sky should the sun make way for summer storms.
To date, in 2009, nine people have died due to lightning strikes, according to reports from the National Weather Service.
Shortly after last year’s fatal lightning strike that killed a man at Connecticut’s Hammonasset Beach State Park, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal made an effort to ramp up safety precautions for beachgoers in the area.
New informational signs have been posted throughout the parks alerting visitors to where they should and should not take shelter during a storm.
When in doubt, The National Lightning Safety Institute suggests you remember this safety slogan: "If you can see it, flee it; if you can hear it, clear it."
Increase your safety with some common sense tips courtesy of The National Weather Service:
- Watch for Developing Thunderstorms: Thunderstorms are most likely to develop on spring or summer days but can occur year round. As the sun heats the air, pockets of warmer air start to rise and cumulus clouds form. Continued heating can cause these clouds to grow vertically into towering cumulus clouds, often the first sign of a developing thunderstorm.
- An Approaching Thunderstorm: When to Seek Safe Shelter: Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles from area where it is raining. That's about the distance you can hear thunder. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance. Seek safe shelter immediately.
- Outdoor Activities: Minimize the Risk of Being Struck: Most lightning deaths and injuries occur in the summer. Where organized outdoor sports activities take place, coaches, camp counselors and other adults must stop activities at the first roar of thunder to ensure everyone time to get a large building or enclosed vehicle.
- Indoor Activities: Things to Avoid: Inside building, stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity. Stay away from pools, indoor or outdoor, tubs, showers and other plumbing. Buy surge suppressors for key equipment. Install ground fault protectors on circuits near water or outdoors. When inside, wait 30 minutes after the last strike, before going out again.
- Helping a Lightning Strike Victim: If a person is struck by lightning, call 911 and get medical care immediately. Cardiac arrest and irregularities, burns, and nerve damage are common in cases where people are struck by lightning. However, with proper treatment, including CPR if necessary, most victims survive a lightning strike. You are in no danger helping a lightning victim. The charge will not affect you.