While lightning deaths in the United States have declined in recent years thanks to active public education programs, lightning continues to pose a deadly threat in America. DSS principals helped the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) and the Lightning Safety Alliance (LSA) underscore this deadly and underrated threat with a public awareness campaign that addressed the hazards of lightning at amusement parks and other open air facilities. The campaign involved industry research, a media relations component and a new website dedicated to lightning safety in recreational facilities such as theme parks and arenas. The campaign was highlighted at the kick- off of 2012’s Lightning Safety Awareness Week, an event DSS also supported with event management and media relations services.
DSS’s event planning expertise and unique experience working with family members of those killed by natural or manmade disasters was relied upon by LPI and LSA to make the kick off of Lightning Safety Awareness Week (LSAW) an especially meaningful event. After Justin Inversso, a 21-year old lifeguard at Busch Garden’s Adventure Island water park was killed by lightning in September 2011, the agency recruited Justin’s parents to speak at the 2012 Lightning Safety Awareness Week kick-off event. The Inversso’s honored their son’s memory by talking about Justin’s death and warning about the dangers of lightning to the employees and patrons of amusement parks and other open air facilities without proper lightning protection. DSS also secured the involvement of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and former NHL Tampa Bay Lightning player Dave Andreychuk, who both spoke at the event and promoted lightning safety.