Lightning safety reminders - KCTV5

Lightning safety reminders

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Every year during the monsoon, local fire departments respond to numerous lightning strike related calls.

Last Thursday, Northwest firefighters confirm lightning hit a telephone poll and caused it to catch fire near Oracle on the northwest side.

Rural Metro Fire Captain Grant Cesarek Fire says palm trees are the most common objects to get struck by lightning, so it’s a good idea to keep your trees trimmed and clear of dry leaves which can ignite quickly, fall off in the wind, and possibly land on your house.

Last summer, the Tucson Fire Department responded to at least four lightning strike calls to buildings. Two of the calls were to apartments and the other two were to homes. No one was hurt.

One of the four calls was to an apartment complex near 30th Street and Craycroft. Firefighters were originally called to the scene because of a palm tree on fire, but through further investigation, officials learned lightning also struck the roof of the apartment.

The National Weather Service says the odds of a person being struck by lighting is one in a 1,000,000. The NWS estimates nearly 300 people are injured and an average of 33 people across the U.S. die a year from lightning strikes a year.

TFD fire captain Barrett Baker says he doesn’t recall a person in Tucson getting directly hit by lighting within the last two years. However, he says it’s best to take the proper precautions during a thunderstorm and not risk the chance of being that person.

“If you get shocked and if you take a direct hit from lightning, there’s a very good possibility that you can die. Death is obviously worst case scenario, but you can have massive internal injuries,” said Baker.

Baker adds the if you’re outdoors, ditch the umbrella and take cover immediately. If you can’t get inside of a building, the best place to take shelter is in your car. He also says the best tool you can have to call for help is your cell phone instead of your home phone that’s plugged into the wall.

National Weather Service says if you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you and you need to immediately move to a safe shelter. Stay there for at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.

Outdoor lightning safety tips from the National Weather Service:

· Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountains, ridges, or peaks

· Never lie flat on the ground

· Never seek shelter under a tree

· Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter

· Immediately get away from pools, ponds, or any body of water

· Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines)

Indoor lighting safety tips from the National Weather Service:

· The best place to take cover is inside a building. Here are some outdoor lightning safety tips from the National Weather Service:

· Stay off corded phones or other electronics directly plugged into your home. Use your cell phone instead. It’s safe to use because there’s not a direct pathway between you and the lightning.

· Avoid taking a shower, using the sink, (plumbing)

· Stay away from windows and doors and off porches

· Don’t lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls.

For more on lightning safety advice, visit here: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jetstream/lightning/lightning_faq.htm#10

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