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Dangers of lightning cautioned this week
FCFD also putting emphasis on safety
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Forsyth County News

The Forsyth County Fire Department is participating in two public safety initiatives this week.

It is 2011 Fire/EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week, as well as lightning safety week.

The latter seems uncannily timed, as it comes on the heels of powerful storms Wednesday night.

Local firefighters responded to five structural blazes thought to have been lightning related, and four lightning strikes that did not result in fires.

The fire department is asking the public to use caution and sound judgment with lightning, one of the nation’s deadliest weather phenomena.

"Lightning is possible many miles away from the nearest thunderhead or rainstorm," said Fire Chief Danny Bowman.

"[The week] is an ideal time for residents to review lightning-related safety tips that can help protect themselves and their families."

The fire department, along with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and National Weather Service, recommends staying indoors during thunder and avoiding electrical appliances.

Residents should also hold back from running water, including baths or showers, during thunderstorms.

For the annual fire week, which also runs through Saturday, fire departments nationwide and in Canada focus on improving firefighter safety and health.

"All Forsyth County firefighters will be training on the objectives outlined by the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the International Association of Firefighters," said Fire Capt. Jason Shivers.

"It is important to note, however, that our daily response will in no way be impacted."

This year’s theme is Surviving the Fire Ground: Firefighter, Fire Officer and Command Preparedness. It encourages all fire/EMS personnel to focus on survival training and education.

Bowman said safety is a department priority.

"We recognize that our troops must operate safely in order to properly be able to help those who are in need during times of an emergency," he said.