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Storms, lightning keep Cape firefighters busy

By Staff | Aug 27, 2013

Cape Coral Fire Department firefighters were kept busy Monday after afternoon storms resulted in several lightning strikes to homes and transformers. Fortunately nobody was injured.

Emergency calls from homes in the 500 block of Southwest 23rd Terrace and the 2500 block of Northwest 20th Avenue were received, reporting odor of smoke from lightning striking nearby.

Firefighters investigated and found no hazards.

n addition, CCFD provided assistance to cover an Iona fire station when those units were committed to fire calls as well. First arriving crews from Truck 4 and Ladder 7 each verified no fire or injuries to the properties.

Officials said, unfortunately, not every lightning strike is resolved so quickly.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fires started by lightning peak in the summer months and in the late afternoon and early evening. Fire departments around the United States respond to an estimated annual average of 24,600 fires started by lightning. These fires caused annual averages of 12 civilian deaths, 47 civilian injuries, and $407 million in direct property damage. Florida remains the lightning capital of the United States in the number of strikes, injuries, deaths and property damages estimates.

When you hear thunder rolling and lightning flashes around you, unplug appliances and other electrical items, like computers, and turn off air conditioners. If you are unable to unplug them, turn them off. Stay off corded phones, computers, and other electronic equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity or plumbing. Avoid washing your hands, bathing, doing laundry, or washing dishes.

If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance of lightning. Look for shelter inside a home, large building, or a hard-topped vehicle right away. Do not go under tall trees for shelter. There is no place outside that is safe during a thunderstorm. Wait at least 30 minutes after the last thunder before leaving your shelter. Stay away from windows and doors. If you are in or on open water, go to land and seek shelter immediately.

If you are caught outside and feel your hair stand on end, that means lightning is about to strike, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands over your ears and your head between your knees. Make yourself the smallest target possible and minimize your contact with the ground. Do not lie flat on the ground. This is a last resort when a building or hard-topped vehicle is not available.

If a person is struck by lightning, call 9-1-1 and get medical care immediately. Lightning strike victims carry no electrical charge; attend to them immediately. Check their breathing, heartbeat, and pulse. CPR may be needed.

Source: Cape Coral Fire Department