The Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA) will set up a Lightning Awareness Research Centre (LARC) in Kerala.
The first NGO initiative in this context, LARC has taken shape as an extension of CISSA’s ongoing activities in conducting awareness camps, training programmes and workshops on the lightning hazard and means of protecting life and property from it, sources said.
Aimed at promoting awareness among people about lightning hazards and how to remain safe during lightning incidents and also to provide expert guidance on protecting property from damage or loss due to lightning, LARC would be at the beck and call of victims and affected people so as to provide necessary aid and support on how to stay safe and ward off untoward incidents.
LARC also has set up a telephone service to answer questions about lightning and protection from it. Lightning kills more people every year (more than 70) in Kerala than any natural disaster and injures more than 100 persons. The loss of property, such as trees and electronic equipment, is yet to be estimated.
The situation in many other states in India and even in most other developing countries is similar. This happens because most people are not aware of what is lightning or how to protect oneself and one’s property from it. There exists no state or national agency to create awareness among people or help them protect themselves and their property from lightning.
Lightning mishaps have been reported as huge during both the rainy seasons in Kerala. Further, it has also been seen that fraudulent measures are often undertaken in areas where serious efforts to ward off lightning related accidents are needed.
Though scientific means have been spelt out, many fail to comply with them. Such irresponsible behaviour from those concerned also need to be stopped by way of proper awareness.
According to Dr. S. Murali Das, renowned expert in lightning and Former Scientist, Centre for Earth Science Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, CISSA LARC provides all kinds of information about lightning, its distribution in time and space, how to remain safe during thunderstorms and how to protect your building and electrical/electronic equipment from damage or loss due to lightning.
A good collection of books and scholarly publications on lightning and related matters is being compiled. Further, a free telephone service (0471 2722151) between 10 am to 5 pm to which anyone can call and ask about lightning and protection measures has also been set up. More than just announcing an amount of compensation to victims and those affected by lightning, CISSA feels that the need is to educate and stafamilies affected by the natural hazard.
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