Socket loves a good romp outside as much as the next dog. But when Socket hears thunder or spots lightning, it’s tail between the legs and run for shelter! 2018 has been an extraordinarily deadly year for lightning strikes in Tennessee, with three deaths in less than two months, which is more than the previous 11 years combined.[i] Climate change is already affecting Tennesseans in far-reaching ways. Certain types of extreme weather events with links to climate change have become more frequent and/or intense.[ii]
So, what can you do to protect yourself and your family from lightning? Follow these simple tips and precautions from Wikihow.com[iii] to be storm-safe this season.
Stay away from open fields or hilltops. Lightning often strikes the tallest object in the area, so avoid open fields or any hilltops. Look for a low-lying area like a valley or ravine, preferably obscured from the rain. Take refuge here until the storm passes. Crouch down with your heels touching and your head between your knees: this will make you a smaller target.
Do not lie down flat, and minimize your contact with the ground. Lightning can be fatal up to one hundred feet away from the initial strike.
Avoid swimming or watersports on rainy days. Check weather forecasts early in the day, and avoid going to a swimming pool, river, lake, or beach on rainy days. If you find yourself in open water during a thunderstorm, return to land immediately. If you are in a boat and cannot return to safety, drop anchor and crouch as low as possible.
Do not return to the body of water until thirty minutes after the last lightning strike. Any earlier, and the storm may not be over.
Indoor swimming is equally unsafe. Avoid all large bodies of water during a storm.
Don't stand near trees or tall isolated objects. Taller objects are more likely to be struck by lightning. Wherever you are, don't become the highest object anywhere. Avoid standing under trees in a lightning storm, and stay away from tall objects like light posts.
If you're in a forest, stay near a lower stand of trees.
Umbrellas can increase your risk of getting hit if it is the tallest object in the area.
Avoid metal objects, like fences or exposed pipes. Metal conducts electricity, and you are much more likely to get hit. If you are carrying large metal objects, let them go. Small metal objects, like piercings or electronic devices, do not carry a large risk and are safe to hold.
Add a lightning rod to your roof. Lightning rods do not attract lightning but do provide a path of least resistance if lightning hits your house. This can prevent the electric current from damaging your home. Do not install a lightning rod yourself: find an electrician certified to install lightning systems.
Avoid bathing, showering, or using the sink as much as possible. During thunderstorms, lightning can travel through water pipes if it strikes your home. Do not bathe or shower until the storm has passed. If you have to use the sink, only do so in emergencies.
Turn off and stay away from wired electronics. Using electronic devices that plug into the wall is dangerous during a lightning storm. Avoid using TVs, washing machines, and corded phones during thunderstorms. Wireless electronics, like cell phones, are safe to use unless they are plugged into a charger.
Keep your windows closed. Avoid standing next to open windows or doors during a thunderstorm. Although rare, lightning can travel through windows during storms. Glass is a good insulator, so it is unlikely that the window will be struck if closed.
Run to your vehicle for safety. When your choice is either outdoors or inside a car, your car is always the safest option. If caught in a thunderstorm, remain inside your car until the storm passes. Close your windows, and put the top up in your convertible.
Place your hands in your lap. Most cars are safe from lightning, but the metal exterior or any metal objects are not safe to touch. If lightning strikes your car, the current will flow from the car's outer metal cage and into the ground below. Keep your hands in your lap and avoid leaning on the car doors or touching any exposed metal.
Don't handle the radio or your GPS system. Some portions of the current can travel through the wired areas in your car. Don't touch any of the vehicle's electrical systems during the car, including your radio, GPS system, or cell phone charger.
Pull to the side of the road in heavy storms. If driving in an outage area, pull over and turn on your hazard lights. Areas with outages are dangerous to drive in, especially if the traffic lights have shorted out. If you must continue traveling, treat intersections with shorted traffic signals as a four-way stop and take extra caution.
Socket says: Be sure to follow these practical tips to stay safe while enjoying the incredible beauty our city and state have to offer!
Department of General Services' Jerry Hall contributed to this blog.
By Maryam Muhammad, intern with the Division of Sustainability, Summer 2018
Before I was even born, it was decided that I would be vegetarian. Fast forward 20 years later and here I am, stirring turmeric and chia seed muffin mix with one hand (recipe below) and searching for the latest nutrition breakthroughs with the other.
My version of a prank is posting a picture of myself eating a "burger" (veggie sandwich) from Five Guys on Facebook and watching my friends freak out!
My parents primarily had health in mind as the basis for our family being vegetarian. Having switched to the lifestyle in their twenties, they hopped aboard the health train early and haven’t looked back since. We lived in southern California for the first 9 years of my life, but when we moved to Middle Tennessee when I was 10, I often felt like a vegetarian in a steakhouse.
Through elementary up until high school, I was the kiddo with the crazy vegetarian lunches. I found myself constantly fielding questions about the things I ate (“No, Alicia, I don’t eat grass”) and explaining the concoctions inside my Tootsie Roll tin lunch box (“Yes, chili can be made without beef”). As frequent as these interrogations were, I felt pride in my lunch creations (I have been cooking since I can remember) and confident in the choices I continued to make.
It wasn’t until the end of high school that I learned the impact that eating more fruits and vegetables – and fewer animal products – has on the environment. While I had always focused on the human health benefits of a plant-based diet, I’m now learning the many benefits it has for the health of our planet. My internship with the Department of General Services Division of Sustainability this summer has given me the opportunity to dive into this research. Here are some highlights.
If cattle were their own nation, they would be the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs).[i]
Livestock production contributes nearly one-fifth of all global GHG emissions.[ii]
Sector emissions could be reduced by 70% through adopting a vegan diet and 63% for a vegetarian diet, which includes cheese, milk, and eggs.[iii]
Adoption of a vegetarian diet worldwide would save 7.3 million lives by 2050.[iv]
So it seems that I have a host of reasons to continue to make the choices that I do and to encourage others to do the same. Just as taking shorter showers, composting, and taking the bus are proven methods to reduce your impact on the environment, adopting plant-based diet – or simply cutting back on your meat consumption – can be a profound step in your individual effort toward protecting the environment.
Oh, and did I mention… it’s delicious! Below, find two of my favorite recipes for healthy, tasty 100% vegetarian treats. Bon apetit!
Vegetable Stir Fry:
1 large pan
3-4 T olive oil
1 onion diced
3 garlic cloves chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 bell pepper diced
1 large broccoli crown chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in pan at medium-hi heat until hot. Add garlic, onion, and bell pepper and reduce temp to medium. Once onions are translucent, add broccoli and carrot. Cook until broccoli and carrots are tender (about 10 mins) and add salt and pepper to taste.
Try adding these flavors:
Sweet Chili: 2 extra garlic cloves, 2 T honey, 1 T red chili paste, juice from ½ Lemon, 1 T white wine vinegar
Sesame: Substitute 1-2 T olive oil with sesame oil, 2 T honey, 1.5 T Soy Sauce, 2 t ginger, 1 T white wine vinegar
Chia Seed Muffins:
4 cups oats
4 t cinnamon
2 t nutmeg
2 t cardamom
1 T turmeric
¼ cup chia seed
1 t baking powder
½ t salt
2/3 cup of milk (of your choice)
2 t vanilla extract
¼ cup blackstrap molasses
Add anything you want: dark chocolate chips, a mashed banana, dried cranberries, dates, shredded coconut. Mix everything in a bowl, drop them in a 12 yield muffin tin, and pop them in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 20 mins. They aren’t sweet, so I substitute them for toast in the morning and top with almond butter and honey!
Join Socket and the Department of General Services as we partner with the Metro Planning Department and Tennessee Department of Health to help transform Broadway's parking spots into mini-parks, filled with seating, games, and more. Learn more about this annual tradition here: https://www.civicdesigncenter.org/events/parking-day
Socket the Dog has some helpful hints as we celebrate summer. These hot tips will help keep you and your family cool all season long!
Join Socket for fun from across the globe at this year's Celebrate Nashville Festival. Read more here.
Join Socket again this year for the annual Urban Runoff 5K walk/run in Shelby Park. More info here.
Join Socket Friday, June 29 from 12:30-2:30 with the Nashville Predators to celebrate the construction of a brand new ice rink in Bellevue!
Join Socket at our booth at Waterfest -- a free family festival celebrating and connecting children to our local waters. There will be waterslides, music, dancing, educational exhibits, prizes, and more! Learn more here.
Trees are one of the most integral components of the urban landscape. Trees sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, improve air quality, reduce soil erosion by catching precipitation in their leaf canopies, and lower air temperatures in urban areas – among many other things.
When we think health, we typically think of nutrition and exercise, but we often forget about our mind. Health encompasses both the body and mind. Here are some tips to bring “whole” health to your day.