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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Base officials caution personnel, residents when lightning strikes

By Nathan L. Hanks Jr. | | July 10, 2014


Base emergency management officials are encouraging Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s workforce and residents to use caution when engaging in outdoor activities and lightning occurs.

Summer is the peak season for one of the nation’s deadliest weather phenomena—lightning, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

All thunderstorms are dangerous and have the potential to produce   lightning, according to base emergency management officials.

If lightning occurs within 10 miles of MCLB Albany, a lightning warning is issued by Marine Corps Installations East Regional Meteorology and Oceanography Operations Center at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina.

The warning, known as L10, means lighting is imminent or occurring within 10 miles of the installation and all personnel should remain inside or seek shelter indoors, according to MCLB Albany emergency management officials.

When a lightning warning is received, the installation emergency manager notifies the Public Affairs Office and a wildcard is sent out immediately warning base personnel of the danger.

Once the storm is 10 miles past the installation, METOC will call and give an all clear, the installation emergency manager said.

Though lightning strikes peak during summer months, they occur year-round, according to the website, www.light-ningsafety.noaa.gov/.

Most lightning deaths and injuries occur when people are outdoors in the summer months during the afternoon and evening, according to the website, www.ready.gov/thunderstorms-lightning.

On average in the U.S., lightning kills 51 people and injures hundreds more every year. Although most victims survive, those struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms, the website states.

Currently, in 2014, there have been nine lightning fatalities including four in Florida, one each in Arizona, Michigan, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Texas, stated the website, www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/fatalities.htm.

The chance of being struck by lightning is estimated to be one in 600,000, but could be reduced even further by following safety precautions, the ready.gov website states.

Although most of the base population works indoors, it does not prevent them from being struck by lightning, emergency management officials said.

Even though lightning may strike outside the house or a work facility, it can travel inside using water lines and electrical lines/devices as a conduit.

Officials also recommend for the residents in base housing not to wash hands, take a bath or shower during a thunderstorm. Anything that is electrical should be plugged into a surge protector to protect it; however, it is best to turn everything off if there is a thunderstorm and lightning occurs.

Lightning safety tips can be found at www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/tips.htm.

What one needs to know:

* No place outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area.

* If thunder can be heard, lightning is close enough to strike.

* At the first rumble of thunder, immediately move to a safe shelter such as a substantial building with electricity and plumbing or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up.

* Stay in safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.

Indoor lightning safety:

* Stay off phones, computers and other electrical equipment plugged into an outlet.

* Avoid areas such as plumbing, including sinks, baths and faucets.

* Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.

* Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.

Last resort, outdoor risk-reduction tips:

* If caught outside with no safe shelter nearby, follow the below tips to reduce the risk of being struck by lightning.

* Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks.

* Do not lie flat on the ground.

* Do not seek shelter under an isolated tree.

* Do not use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter.

* Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water.

* Stay away from objects that conduct electricity such as barbed wire fences and power lines.

For more information, call 229-639-5746.