By Associated Press - Thursday, June 19, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America is encouraging consumers to avoid harm and be aware of the fire risks associated with lightning strikes.

The National Weather Service says there were a total of 23 fatalities caused by lightning across the country last year, and 145 more people were seriously injured. Lightning also caused $23.9 million in property damage and ignited wildfires that burned more than three million acres of land.

Joe Woods, the group’s vice president, says while Oklahoma and other states experience severe drought and lack of rain, the threat of lightning igniting a wildfire is a possibility.

The group recommends that consumers review their insurance policy and limits each year and consider installing a lightning protection system or using surge protectors and inventory household items with photographs.

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