Striking Back at Lightning 20 Years of Saving Lives


By : John Jensenius

Lightning Safety Specialist
National Lightning Safety Council

Striking Back at Lightning
20 Years of Saving Lives

“This year (June 21-27) marks the 20th Lightning Safety Awareness Week (LSAW) in the United States.  When LSAW began in 2001, the United States averaged 55 deaths per year based on the previous 10 years. That average has now dropped to 26 deaths per year, despite an increasing U.S. population.  The decrease in lightning deaths can be largely attributed to increased awareness of the dangers of lightning, better lightning safety policies and guidelines, and better medical attention for lightning victims.  Many of you have contributed significantly to this effort by helping the public understand those dangers and to know how and when to react to the threat.”

“While we are very encouraged by the decrease in lightning fatalities, at least 626 people died as a result of lightning strikes during the 19-year period.  In most of these cases, the victims were only steps away from safety when they were struck.  Unfortunately, they either failed to recognize the danger of a nearby thunderstorm or simply failed to respond soon enough to that threat.”

“Once again, the National Lightning Safety Council is asking for your help to provide lightning safety information to the public during National Lightning Safety Awareness Week, and throughout the year.  To aid with this effort, we have a wealth of information on our web site.”

“On the Council’s “Lightning Fatalities” web page, you can find quite a bit of information on the fatal incidents.  This year, for each state, we have added a list of fatal incidents.  Similarly, we have created lists of fatal incidents based on the activities that put the victims at risk.”

“If you need additional information, a list of Council members, their background, and contact information is available at:”

“Finally, I should also point out that International Lightning Safety Day is June 28.

“As always, thank you in advance for your help with this effort.”-John Jensenius

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