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The City of Titusville, Florida / Fire & Emergency Services / News

The Dangers of Lightning

How Dangerous is Lightning?

Lightning is a major cause of storm related deaths in the U.S.  A lightning strike can result in a cardiac arrest (heart stopping) at the time of the injury, although some victims may appear to have a delayed death a few days later if they are resuscitated but have suffered irreversible brain damage.

According to the National Weather Center Storm Data, over the last 30 years (1981-2010) the U.S. has averaged 53 reported lightning fatalities per year. Only about 10% of people who are struck by lightning are killed, leaving 90% with various degrees of disability.

All of us need to practice lightning safety to avoid becoming one of the victims of mathematical odds, below:

Odds of Becoming a Lightning Victim
(based on averages for 2001-2010)

Estimated U.S. population as of 2011 310,000,000
Annual Number of Deaths Reported 39 Number of Injuries Reported 241 280
Estimated number of U.S. Deaths 40 Estimated number of actual Injuries 360 400
Odds of being struck by lightning in a given year (reported deaths + injuries) 1/1,000,000
Odds of being struck by lightning in a given year (estimated total deaths + injuries) 1/775,000
Odds of being struck in your lifetime (Est. 80 years) 1/10,000
Odds you will be affected by someone being struck (Ten people affected for every one struck) 1/1000

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