TAVARES — The Lake County Department of Public Safety, Emergency Management Division, is recognizing the National Weather Service’s declaration of this week as Lightning Safety Awareness Week by sharing lightning safety tips.
According to the National Weather Service, summer is the peak season for lightning strikes with Florida being the lightning capital of North America with an average of 1.4 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes each year. The Sunshine State typically leads the nation in lightning deaths and injuries with an average of 9 deaths and 60 injuries directly due to lightning each year.
“Learning about lightning and its dangers, as well as safety measures, can greatly reduce your risk from being affected by lightning,” said Jerry Smith, Director of the Lake County Emergency Management Division.
Some lightning safety tips are:
- Watch for Thunderstorms: Thunderstorms are most likely to develop on spring or summer days, but can occur year round.
- Seek Safe Shelter: Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles from the area where it is raining. That's about the distance you can hear thunder. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance. Seek safe shelter immediately.
- Outdoor Activities: Minimize the risk of being struck. Most lightning deaths and injuries occur in the summer. Stop activities at the first roar of thunder to ensure everyone has time to get to a large building or enclosed vehicle.
- Indoor Activities: Inside buildings, stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity. Stay away from pools (indoor or outdoor), tubs, showers and other plumbing. Buy surge suppressors for key equipment. Install ground fault protectors on circuits near water or outdoors. When inside, wait 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder, before going outside again.
- Helping a Lightning Strike Victim: Lightning victims do not carry an electrical charge; are safe to touch; and need urgent medical attention. Cardiac arrest is often the immediate cause of death. Some deaths can be prevented if the victim receives the proper first aid immediately. Call 9-1-1 immediately and perform CPR if the person is unresponsive or not breathing. Use an automatic external defibrillator if one is available.
For more disaster-preparation information, call the Lake County Emergency Management Division at (352) 343-9420 or view the Division’s brochures.