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'When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!'

Patrick AFB, Fla. -- A "Phase-2 Lightning Warning" has been issued for your location; what do you do? You're on the beach and you hear thunder; what do you do?

Lightning is the leading source of weather deaths in Florida, killing more than nearly all other weather combined. Central Florida is "Lightning Alley," with the most lightning in the U.S. Our lightning season is late May through September. When on-base, listen for the lightning watches and warnings.

A 'Phase-1 Lightning Watch' means lightning is expected within five nautical miles of the specified location(s) and is issued up to 30 minutes before the lightning is predicted. Lightning that close is dangerous. Five nautical miles is about six "normal" statute miles.

A 'Phase-2 Lightning Warning' is issued when lightning is imminent or occurring within five nautical miles of the specified location(s). The 45th Weather Squadron issues lightning watches and warnings for 14 locations in the local area, including Patrick AFB and six locations on Cape Canaveral AFS: Launch Complex-40/41, ITL Area, CCAFS Industrial Area, Launch Complex-36 A/B, Launch Complex-17A/B, and the Port Area.

Follow your local procedures when you hear these alerts. When off-base, use the three slogans and four levels of lightning safety:
 
1) No Place Outdoors Is Safe, When Thunderstorms Are In The Area!
2) When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!
3) Half An Hour Since Thunder Roars, Now It's Safe To Go Outdoors!

Level-1: Schedule outdoor activities to avoid the lightning hazard. Use the local forecasts from the National Weather Service at Melbourne (www.srh.noaa.gov/ mlb). Know the local weather patterns. The National Weather Service Graphical Hazardous Weather Outlook is issued each morning and includes a map indicating where lightning will most likely occur during the next 24 hours.

Level-2: Know when and where to go for lightning safety. Watch the skies for signs of approaching or locally developing thunderstorms. If you hear thunder, the storm is getting close enough to be a danger - go to a safe place quickly! A safe place from lightning is a large fully enclosed building with wiring and plumbing - a typical house, school, office, or store, etc. A vehicle with a solid metal roof and solid metal sides also offers good protection. When indoors, stay away from conducting paths to the outside: corded telephones (except for emergencies), electrical appliances and wiring, and plumbing.

Level-3: Risk reduction. If you must be outside with thunderstorms in the area,
you are in danger. Only do this if there is no alternative. Avoid elevated places, wideopen areas like sports fields and beaches, and tall isolated objects. Do not go under trees to keep dry! Avoid swimming, boating, and fishing. Small open structures, such as pavilions and rain shelters, provide no lightning protection.

Level-4: First aid. All lightning deaths are from cardiac arrest or stopped breathing. Use CPR or rescue breathing, as needed. Have someone call 9-1-1. If an Automated 'When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!' External Defibrillator (AED) is available, use it on victims with cardiac arrest. If the cardiac arrest is due to fibrillation, the AED works much better
than CPR. If it is not fibrillation, then the AED won't fire, resume CPR. More information is available online at www.lightningsafety. noaa.gov. For lightning safety training, contact the 45th Weather Squadron,  william.roeder@patrick.af.mil, 853-8410.