Summer weather brings the possibility of thunderstorms — and the Millburn Fire Department, along with the National Weather Service, is raising awareness about the potential dangers of lightning, and reminding all residents to seek shelter inside when they hear thunder.
 
"Because lightning fatalities are relatively rare, many people don't take the threat of lightning as seriously as they should," said Millburn Fire Chief J. Michael Roberts.  "This increases their confidence to engage in risky behavior, and this in turn increases the number of tragic accidents that occur.  This year to date, 17 people have died from lightning strikes across the United States, more than double the average over the past five years, and many more have been injured.  Every one of these deaths was avoidable."
 
 
To help reduce the risk of injury or death, the Department is urging residents to be aware of these storm safety warnings:
 
  • In a thunderstorm, there is no safe place outside.
  • As soon as you can hear thunder or see lightning, you are in danger.
  • Lightning can strike up to 10 miles away from a storm.
  • You should never seek shelter under a tree during a thunderstorm.
  • The safest place to seek refuge is a sturdy shelter with walls, windows, electricity, and plumbing.  A tent offers no safety from lightning.
  • If shelter is not available, the next safest place is a hard-topped car with the windows rolled up.
 
"In addition to using common sense and remaining indoors during a storm, residents can reduce their risk by planning their activities around the weather," said Chief Roberts.  "Keep an eye on the forecast, and don't schedule outdoor activities, such as swimming and hiking, when the risk of risk of lightning is present.  If you are caught out in a storm far from home, it decreases your chance of finding safe shelter."
 
 
Residents seeking more information about storm safety can visit www.weather.gov/lightning.