The United States Lifesaving Association, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service have launched a new lifeguard lightning safety initiative.

Lightning kills an average of 54 people in the US each year, according to the NWS. Lifeguards are frontline safety providers who can successfully intervene to minimize the chances of injury and death, but they have been killed as well.

“Saving lives and preventing injuries are the primary roles of lifeguards, and water is not the only source of problems,” said B. Chris Brewster, President of the U.S. Lifesaving Association. “These guidelines are intended to help lifeguards protect the public, protect themselves, and reduce the toll of lightning-related injuries in the United States.”

The program is available at It includes general guidelines, a site preparation checklist, and a model emergency action plan, designed for use by lifeguard agencies and intended to be edited in accordance with local circumstances and protocols.