Des Moines, Iowa — The National Weather Service and Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management have designated June 20-24, 2016 as Iowa Lightning Awareness Week. Lightning is one of the top three storm-related killers in the United States with an average of 49 deaths per year over the last 30 years, according to officials. In 2015, there were 27 lightning fatalities in the United States including 2 in Iowa. State officials say a 35-year old male near Moscow, IA was struck by lightning while rounding up cattle on his horse, and a 42-year old female near Hiawatha, IA was struck by lightning while camping.
The National Weather Service says no place outside is safe near a thunderstorm. When outside, keep an eye on the sky. They say most people are struck by lightning before or just after a storm because they wait too long to seek shelter or go back outside too soon. If you hear thunder, go indoors! Seek shelter in a building or hard-topped vehicle. Don’t go outside until 30 minutes or more after hearing the last thunder. This will insure the thunderstorm is far enough away that it’s safe to resume outdoor activities, according to the Weather Service.
According to officials, all lightning deaths result from cardiac arrest. If you’re with a victim, call 9-1-1 to get professional medical help then apply CPR if possible. A common myth is that lightning victims are electrified and dangerous to approach. This is false! About 90% of lightning victims survive, so your first aid may save a life, according to officials.
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