It seems like there is special day for just about anything. However, on the top of your list should be National Lightning Safety Awareness Week [NLSA] from June 23 -29, 2019. NLSA was started in 2001 to bring awareness to this “underrated killer.”

Those of us who live in Central Florida know from experience that there is a lot of lightning activity around these parts. That’s because Central Florida is the lightning capital of the United States. In fact, the area from Tampa to Titusville has been dubbed “Lightning Alley.”


The good news is that 90% of people who are struck by lightning survive “though survivors can still be left with lingering and debilitating health issues.”

Just how do you tell if you’ve been struck by lightning? Generally a person who is hit by lightning doesn’t know what has happened to them. Some stories from survivors have reported not coming to a realization until hours later when an arm or limb begins to hurt. Some have blisters form that leave what is known as a fractal pattern on the skin.

Internally, a lightning strike will basically affect your nervous system, often with brain or nerve injuries. Other symptoms will include dizziness, nausea and other post-concussion-type symptoms.


Things to remember about lightning:

If you hear thunder, you are likely within striking distance of lightning. Delayed and improper action in a storm is what can potentially cause harm. There’s a saying that is fitting to remember:

“When the Thunder roars, Go Indoors.”

According to the National Weather Service, lightning is one of the top three storm-related killers in the United States. It is also the least understood. Though there are many things people will say about how to be safe outside during a storm, there no real safe place to be outside. At this juncture, instead of going into the scientific breakdown on lightning, I think it would suffice to say to just respect Mother Nature and get out of her way and into safety.

Of course, once you are inside, there are also safety rules to abide by. “Safe shelters are buildings with electricity and plumbing or metal-topped vehicles with the windows closed. Picnic shelters, dugouts and small buildings without plumbing or electricity are not safe.”

These tips have been published by The National Weather Service:

  • Stay off corded phones. You can use cellular or cordless phones

  • Don’t touch electrical equipment such as computers, TVs or cords. You can use remote controls safely.

  • Avoid plumbing Do not wash your hands, take a shower or wash dishes

  • Stay away from exterior windows and doors (that might contain metal components leading to from outside your home to the inside.

  • Stay off balconies, porches, open garages or carports

  • Don’t lie on a concrete floor or lean on a concrete wall

  • Protect your pets. Dog houses are not safe. Neither is chaining an animal to a fence, tree or metal runner.

  • Protect your home prior to the storm. Do not unplug electrical equipment during a storm as there is a potential that you can be hit by lightning.

So, remember, lightning safety is not just for the one week out of the month, but needs to practiced at all times.

field of flowers

On the positive side, lightning helps deposit nitrogen into our soil. The electrical energy from a lightning strike separates the nitrogen in the air, allowing nitrogen to fall to earth. That together with rain water and soil, allows the nitrogen to turn into nitrates, a form of fertilizer. Thus, we can have a good crop of food or beautiful flowers and greenery.

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