Summer has arrived and along with it the peak season for lightning strikes. While lightning can happen year round in Florida, thunderstorms and lightning occur most often at this time of year.
Each year in the United States, more than 400 people are struck by lightning. While it’s true a small percentage of lightning strike victims die, many more survivors are left with serious lifelong pain and neurological disabilities. Most of these tragedies can be avoided by following these simple precautions provided by Kissimmee Utility Authority:
- Have a lightning safety plan. Know where you’ll go for safety and how much time it will take to get there. Make sure your plan allows enough time to reach safety.
- Postpone activities. Before going outdoors, check the forecast for thunderstorms. Consider postponing activities to avoid being caught in a dangerous situation.
- Monitor the weather. Look for signs of a developing thunderstorm such as darkening skies, flashes of lightning or increasing wind.
- Get to a safe place. If you hear thunder, even a distant rumble, immediately move to a safe place. Fully enclosed buildings with wiring and plumbing provide the best protection. Sheds, picnic shelters, tents or covered porches do NOT protect you from lightning. If a sturdy building is not nearby, get into a hard-topped metal vehicle and close all the windows. Stay inside until 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.
- If you hear thunder, don’t use a corded phone except in an emergency. Cordless phones and cell phones are safe to use.
- Keep away from electrical equipment and wiring.
- Water pipes conduct electricity. Don’t take a bath or shower or use other plumbing during a storm.
“When thunderstorms threaten, get to a safe place,” said KUA spokesman Chris Gent. “Lightning safety can be an inconvenience but it can save your life.”