Practice Lightning and Fireworks Safety this Summer

Individual and Community Preparedness eBrief

u s d h s f e m a

June 28, 2018

In this issue:

See a Flash, Dash Inside


According to the National Weather Service (NWS), summer brings an increase in lightning strikes.


While the warm weather invites many outside activities, if you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you. Take a moment during National Lightning Safety Awareness Week (June 24-30) to learn how to stay safe in a thunderstorm with tips from NWS.


  • When thunder roars, go indoors - move inside a sturdy building or hard top vehicle with the windows up as soon as you hear thunder.
  • Do not take shelter in small sheds, gazebos, dugouts, bleachers, under isolated trees, or convertible automobiles.
  • Avoid open fields, the top of a hill, or a ridge top.
  • Stay away from water, wet items, such as ropes, and metal objects, such as fences and poles. Water and metal do not attract lightning, but they are excellent conductors of electricity.


  • Stay indoors. Stay inside at least 30 minutes after you hear the last clap of thunder.
  • Do not touch anything plugged into an electrical outlet.
  • Use a corded telephone only for emergencies; cordless and cellular phones are safe to use.
  • Avoid contact with plumbing; do not wash your hands, and do not take a shower or bath.

To learn how to prepare for a thunderstorm, visit the Ready Campaign’s Thunderstorms page. For more lightning safety information, visit www.lightningsafety.noaa.govRemember: lightning can strike any time of year.

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8 Steps to Prevent Vehicular Heatstroke

In just 10 minutes a car can heat up by 20 degrees and become deadly

On hot days, the temperature inside your car can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes.


In 2017, 42 children died of vehicular heatstroke. Heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees. A core body temperature of about 107 degrees is lethal.


When left in a hot car, a child's temperature can rise quickly. A child's body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult's.


Help prevent vehicular heatstroke with these eight steps from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  1. Never leave a child or pet in a car unattended—even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running, and the air conditioning is on.
  2. Make a habit of looking in the car—front and back—before locking the door and walking away.
  3. Ask your childcare provider to call you if your child does not show up for care as expected.
  4. Place your purse or briefcase in the back seat so you do not accidentally leave a child or pet in the car.
  5. Write a note or place a toy in the passenger's seat to remind you of the child or pet in the car.
  6. Teach children not to play in cars and store keys out of a child's reach.
  7. If you see a child alone in a locked car, get them out immediately and call 911.
  8. Remove the child from the car and rapidly cool them if they are in distress due to heat.


Learn more extreme heat preparedness at If you would like to help spread the word about extreme heat safety, you can visit the Extreme Heat Social Media Toolkit for resources. Download the FEMA App for heat advisories and safety tips.

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Enjoy Fireworks Safely

Leave Fireworks to the Professionals

The Fourth of July means barbecues and fireworks. It may seem like harmless fun, but fireworks are explosives. Only professionals should handle them.


On average, 280 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday. Follow these tips to prevent injury from fireworks:

  • Leave the lighting to the professionals. Attend fireworks displays.
  • Do not try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully ignited.
  • Keep sparklers away from children. They can burn at temperatures about 2,000 degrees. That is hot enough to melt some metals.


For more information on firework safety, check out the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Fireworks page.

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Prepare to Evacuate Your Pets

Cat Evacuation Kit

With only a few days left in National Pet Preparedness Month, make sure your pet stays safe in an emergency.


Help your pet remain calm in an emergency by including them in your plans and drills. Prepare to evacuate or shelter your pets now.

Start by following these tips from the Ready Campaign:

  • Have a Pet Emergency Kit.
  • Create a buddy system in case you are not home. Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your animals.
  • Identify shelters. Many emergency shelters cannot take pets for public health reasons. Keep a list of pet friendly hotels in your emergency kit. Find boarding facilities or animal hospitals near your evacuation shelter. Consider an out-of-town friend or relative.
  • Locate a veterinarian or animal hospital in the area where you may be seeking temporary shelter, in case your pet needs medical care. Add the contact information to your emergency kit.
  • Have your pet microchipped. Make sure to keep your address and phone number up-to-date.
  • Call your local emergency management office, animal shelter or animal control office to get advice and information.
  • If you are unable to return to your home right away, you may need to board your pet. Find out where pet boarding facilities are located.
  • Most boarding kennels, veterinarians, and animal shelters will need your pet's medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current.
  • If you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, there are some precautions you must take, but remember that leaving your pet at home alone can place your animal in great danger!


Your pets cannot prepare for an emergency, but you can. Find additional information for preparing your pets in the Pet Owners Fact Sheet.

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Important Dates to Remember

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