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Lightening Safety

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What You Should Know About Our Lightning Prediction Systems

In the United States, more than 400 people are struck by lightning each year. To encourage lightning safety, the City of Fort Lauderdale’s Parks and Recreation Department has installed lightning prediction systems at several park locations. The Parks and Recreation Department will utilize the lightning prediction systems as a weather-monitoring tool that will provide additional protection to employees, recreational program participants and other park patrons.

The following park locations have been equipped with the lightning prediction systems that will be operationalONLYduring normal park hours and as warranted for special events:

  • Bass Park – 2750 N.W. 19th Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311
  • Bayview Park – 4401 Bayview Drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
  • Croissant Park – 245 W. Park Drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315
  • Floyd Hull Stadium – 800 S.W. 28th Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315
  • George English Park – 1101 Bayview Drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
  • Holiday Park – 1150 G. Harold Martin Drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
  • Joseph C. Carter Park – 1450 W. Sunrise Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311
  • Lauderdale Manors – 1340 Chateau Park Drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311
  • Mills Pond Park – 2201 N.W. 9th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311
  • Osswald Park – 2220 N.W. 21st Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311
  • Riverland Park – 950 S.W. 27th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
  • Snyder Park – 3299 S.W. 4th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315
  • Warfield Park – 1000 N. Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304

Lightning Prediction System: How It Works

The lightning prediction systems have been installed to provide protection from lightning disasters. Lighting prediction senses and evaluates the shifts and changes in the electrostatic field that precede the occurrence of an actual lightning strike. Lightning is a violent act of nature and the City of Fort Lauderdale recognizes the threat of injuries or death from lightning strikes cannot be entirely eliminated. However, certain precautions can minimize the potential for lightning related injuries.

When the lightning warning system sounds (one 15-second horn blast), the outdoor facility must be cleared of all patrons as soon as possible. The City of Fort Lauderdale has trained staff to help clear the park’s fields. Also, all persons must seek and remain in buildings or vehicles. All persons must wait until the weather clears and the all-clear signal sounds (three five-second blasts) before patrons can resume play.Activities may only resume once the all-clear signal sounds.

It is recommended that when possible, park patrons and staff seek and remain in a sheltered area. If such shelter is unavailable, patrons are encouraged to get into their vehicles. Pavilions, sheds, picnic shelters, tents, covered porches, dugouts or trees should not be used for shelter, as they do NOT protect you from lightning. Individuals should keep away from metal objects such as fences, umbrellas, etc. This policy shall apply to programs and facilities operated by the City of Fort Lauderdale and its affiliated groups.

Lightning Safety Information

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has provided the following information on lightning safety.

What You Might Not Know About Lightning

  • All thunderstorms produce lightning and are dangerous. In the United States, in an average year, lightning kills about the same number of people as tornadoes and more people than hurricanes.
  • Lightning often strikes outside the area of heavy rain and may strike as far as 10 miles from any rainfall. Many lightning deaths occur ahead of storms or after storms have seemingly passed.
  • If you can hear thunder, you are in danger. Don’t be fooled by blue skies. If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to pose an immediate threat.
  • Lightning leaves many victims with permanent disabilities. While a small percentage of lightning strike victims die, many survivors must learn to live with very serious lifelong pain and neurological disabilities.

Avoid the Lightning Threat

  • Have a lightning safety plan. Know where you’ll go for safety and how much time it will take to get there. Make sure your plan allows enough time to reach safety.
  • Postpone activities. Before going outdoors, check the forecast for thunderstorms. Consider postponing activities to avoid being caught in a dangerous situation.
  • Monitor the weather. Look for signs of a developing thunderstorm such as darkening skies, flashes of lightning or increasing wind.
  • Get to a safe place. If you hear thunder, even a distant rumble, immediately move to a safe place. Fully enclosed buildings with wiring and plumbing provide the best protection. Sheds, picnic shelters, tents or covered porches do NOT protect you from lightning. If a sturdy building is not nearby, get into a hard-topped metal vehicle and close all the windows. Stay inside until 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.
  • If you hear thunder, don’t use a corded phone except in an emergency. Cordless phones and cell phones are safe to use.
  • Keep away from electrical equipment and wiring.
  • Water pipes conduct electricity. Don’t take a bath or shower or use other plumbing during a storm.

What You Should Know About Being Caught Outside Near a Thunderstorm

There is no safe place outside in a thunderstorm. Plan ahead to avoid this dangerous situation! If you’re outside and hear thunder, the only way to significantly reduce your risk of becoming a lightning casualty is to get inside a substantial building or hard-topped metal vehicle as fast as you can. In addition, you should avoid the following situations, which could increase your risk of becoming a lightning casualty. Remember – there is no substitute for getting to a safe place.

  • Avoid open areas. Don’t be the tallest object in the area.
  • Stay away from isolated tall trees, towers or utility poles. Lightning tends to strike the taller objects in an area.
  • Stay away from metal conductors such as wires or fences. Metal does not attract lightning, but lightning can travel long distances through it.

If you are with a group of people, spread out. While this actually increases the chance that someone might get struck, it tends to prevent multiple casualties, and increases the chances that someone could help if a person is struck.

Act Fast If Someone Is Struck by Lightning!

  • Lightning victims do not carry an electrical charge, are safe to touch, and need urgent medical attention. Cardiac arrest is the immediate cause of death for those who die. Some deaths can be prevented if the victim receives the proper first aid immediately.
  • Call for help. Call 9-1-1 or your local ambulance service.
  • Give first aid. Do not delay CPR if the person is unresponsive or not breathing. Use an Automatic External Defibrillator if one is available.
  • If possible, move the victim to a safer place. Lightning can strike twice. Don’t become a victim.

More Information

For more information on lightning safety, please visit the following websites:

For more information on the City of Fort Lauderdale’s lightning prediction systems, please call the Parks and Recreation Department at (954) 828-7275 or e-mailparksinfo@fortlauderdale.gov.