12 June 1999

A Bolt From the Blue: Lightning Safety

Many visitors to Florida are unfamiliar with the dangers of lightning, especially around the wide-open Florida beaches. Lightning happens to be the second biggest weather threat, next to floods. More than 5 million strikes each day occur worldwide, mostly in tropical areas or near water. Most deadly strikes occur in the afternoon, in some cases, little or no warning precedes a lethal strike.

The best course of action is prevention. When swimming or relaxiing on the beach, take the first rumble of thunder as your warning. After the first bolt, vacate the water, and seek a car or secure building. Lightning strikes the tallest objects, so avoid being the tallest object on the beach, and never wait out a storm under a tree. You may be hiding under the best lightning rod around.

While few people survive a direct lightning hit, victims of an indirect hit will be knocked to the ground, possibly unconscious, and sometimes burned. Contrary to myth, lightning victims do not retain an electrical charge. Begin CPR if necessary, stop any bleeding, and have someone call 911.
Article from the Orlando Sentinal Online: http://informationflorida.com/facts.html

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