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June preparedness focuses on National Lightning Safety Awareness Week, Firework Safety and Drought Awareness. We will also be highlighting Cooling and Warming Centers.
National Lightning Safety Awareness Week
The best way for you to protect yourself from lightning is to avoid the threat. You simply don’t want to be caught outside in a storm.
If a safe location is not nearby you can:
- Avoid open fields, the top of a hill or a ridge top.
- Stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects. If you are in a forest, stay near a lower stand of trees.
- If you are in a group, spread out to avoid the current traveling between group members.
- If you are camping in an open area, set up camp in a valley, ravine or other low area. Remember, a tent offers NO protection from lighting.
- 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. The current from a lightning flash will easily travel for long distances.
Although most lightning occurs in the summer, people can be struck at any time of year. Lightning kills an average of 20 people in the U.S. each year & injures hundred more. Stay safe with these tips. Learn more: weather.gov/safety/lightning
It is important to know that fireworks are not safe in the hands of consumers. Fireworks cause thousands of injuries each year. The best way to protect their families is not to use fireworks at home. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends attending public displays and leaving the lighting of fireworks to the professionals.
Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals. Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing, and children have received severe burns from dropping sparklers on their feet. According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers alone account for more than 25% of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries. For children under five years of age, sparklers accounted for nearly half of the total estimated injuries.
- Only allow adults to light fireworks one at a time, then quickly back away.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of a fire.
- Never pick up or try to relight fireworks that have not fully ignited.
- After the fireworks have burned, fully douse them with water before picking them up or disposing to prevent trash fires.
What is a Drought?
A drought is a period of drier-than-normal conditions that results in water-related problems. When rainfall is less than normal for a period of weeks to years, streamflow decline, water levels in lakes and reservoirs fall, and the depth to water in wells increases. If dry weather persists and water-supply problems develop, the dry period can become a drought.
- Immediate drought impacts can include visibly dry vegetation and lower water levels in lakes and reservoirs.
- Longer-term impactssuch as land subsidence, seawater intrusion, and damage to ecosystems, can be harder to see, but more costly to manage in the future.
Environmental Impacts of Drought:
Drought Impacts on Ecosystems. It encompasses and emphasizes the environmental consequences of drought, which include losses in plant growth; increases in fire and insect outbreaks; altered rates of carbon, nutrient, and water cycling; and local species extinctions.
Drought can devastate crops, dry out forests, reduce food and water available for wildlife and livestock. There may be significant direct and indirect economic impacts on the agricultural sector, reducing the water availability and water quality necessary for productive farms, ranches, and grazing lands.
June Training Opportunity
Our training calendar has a new look! We have moved over to lancastercountypa.gov. Here you can find training opportunities by selecting “Calendar” on the left-hand column then select Public Safety Training Calendar under the “Jump To” section.
Training Opportunities from Lancaster County Emergency Management and Lancaster County Public Safety Training Center can be found here.
Warming and Cooling Centers
Local Emergency Management Coordinators May Training
A community warming or cooling center is a designated place in a community that provides temporary relief from extreme temperatures. These centers are established to help people who may not have adequate heating or cooling in their homes, or those who may be facing extreme weather conditions that can be harmful to their health. Every municipality should have at least one identified warming / cooling center.
During cold weather, a warming center is set up to offer warmth and shelter to individuals who may be homeless or living in homes without proper heating. These centers provide a safe and comfortable environment where people can escape the cold and stay warm. They are equipped with heating systems, blankets, and other resources to ensure that visitors can stay protected from freezing temperatures.
On the other hand, during hot weather, a cooling center is established to provide a respite from high temperatures. These centers are particularly important for vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly, young children, or those with health conditions that are aggravated by heat. Cooling centers are equipped with air conditioning or fans to help people cool down and avoid heat-related illnesses.
Community warming and cooling centers are usually operated by local government agencies such as emergency management, non-profit organizations, or community groups. They are typically open during extreme weather events, such as severe winter storms or heatwaves, and they aim to ensure the well-being and safety of community members.
These centers not only provide a physical space for people to seek relief from extreme temperatures but also offer additional support services. They may provide access to food, water, hygiene facilities, medical assistance, and referrals to other resources that can help individuals overcome challenges associated with extreme weather conditions.