Lightning Florida is the lightning capital of the world, therefore as Florida residents, we should take extra precautions when we see bad weather approaching. Because there are no official lightning watches or warnings, it is up to individuals to learn as much as possible about the dangers and precautionary measures that can be taken to better protect one’s family from lightning. Lightning always accompanies thunderstorms, so your first line of defense is to keep an eye and ear to the sky. If you hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. If you find yourself near a storm, there are some precautions you can take to reduce your risk of being struck.
If you are inside when a storm is approaching:
- Unplug all appliances including the air conditioner
- Phone use should be avoided because telephone lines can conduct electricity
- Avoid any areas with sinks and bathtubs because of the metal pipes
If you are outside when a storm approaches:
- Immediately take cover, if possible, in a building
- If there is no shelter, find a low-lying, open place that is a safe distance from trees, poles, or metal objects
- Squat low to the ground, place your hands on your knees with your head tucked between them and try to touch as little of your body to the ground as possible
- Do not lie flat on the ground, as your fully extended body will provide a larger surface to conduct electricity
- If you feel your hair stand on end in a storm, drop into the tuck position described above immediately and minimize your contact with the ground to minimize your injury
- You should also watch for local flooding during thunderstorms
“Lightning always strikes the tallest object.” — False! Lightning strikes the best conductor on the ground, not necessarily the tallest object. In some cases, the best conductor might be a human being.
“A car’s rubber tires give protection from lightning.” — False! Actually, the car itself is very well insulated and offers more protection than being outside in the storm. Of course, the exception to this is the convertible, which provides virtually no protection.
“Lightning never strikes the same place twice.” — False! The Empire State Building, as an example, is struck by lightning many times every year.
“Lightning cannot strike from very far away.” — False! Lightning can actually knock you off your feet and cause severe injury from as far as half a mile away.