Lightning Safety Awareness Week: Zap the myths
Florida leads the nation in the number of lightning fatalities. Image courtesy Fir0002/Flagstaffotos.
This is Lightning Safety Awareness Week, and we could all use a refresher course. Main lesson: If you are outside and hear thunder, get inside. Or, as the National Weather Service says, “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!”
Separate the myths and facts. A few facts are these:
- Lightning CAN strike the same place twice.
- It can strike without clouds and rain overhead.
- Your house is generally a safe place to be, but stay away from anything that conducts electricity to avoid a shocking reminder of exactly why.
- High structures, pointy shapes and being “in the middle of nowhere” are lightning attractors.
- Lightning speaks with a forked tongue. In other words, it can have multiple attachment points and can spread out some 60 feet after striking the earth.
Lightning demands your respect, so give it from afar. Florida leads the nation in the number of lightning fatalities, and the number of deaths in the first half of this year is already equal to that of 2013.
The Lightning Protection Institute is the place to go for information on protecting your property with protection systems. In Florida, we get more lightning strikes per square mile than any other state, particularly this time of year with tropical storms nearly a daily occurrence. Thankfully, we’re not in the top for the number of lightning-related insurance claims. Some of that may be due to damage amounts being small, such as when a TV blows out. It could also be related to renters who don’t have insurance, which is what happened when lightning struck an apartment complex in Tampa early this month, destroying 18 units and displacing residents.
Check out – and share – these lightning safety videos. Be safe!