Fishing activities

National Lightning Safety Awareness Week brings tips for summer activities

This week is Lightning Safety Awareness Week, and the National Weather Service (NWS) wants to remind the public of the rare but real dangers of lightning. This information is especially relevant to Floridians, also known as the lighting capital of the country.

According to an NWS analysis, 418 people were struck and killed by lightning in the United States between 2006 and 2019. Four people were killed in Florida in 2021 alone. Although only 10% of lightning victims die, many end up with long-term health effects, such as chronic pain and neurological problems. Fortunately, injuries and deaths caused by lightning can be avoided by following simple guidelines.

NWS analysis concludes that two-thirds of these lightning-related incidents occurred during outdoor recreational activities. These incidents peak during the months of June, July and August, when people tend to engage in outdoor activities like boating, fishing, golfing and swimming. This is why the NWS promotes the motto “When the thunder roars, go inside”. As soon as you hear thunder, it is recommended that you take shelter indoors or in a hardtop vehicle and wait 30 minutes after the last thunderbolt before resuming activities.

Indoors, avoid using landline phones, interacting with running water, and sitting near windows or porches.

If there is no place to take cover, there are things you can do to mitigate your risk if you are caught outdoors. The rule of thumb is to avoid being the tallest object, or being near the tallest object, in a given area. This means avoiding large open spaces where you are the highest thing off the ground. It also means avoiding lone trees, towers or utility poles.

If someone is struck by lightning, seek medical attention immediately.