Hatter Alert: Emergency Guidelines System
If you are in danger or feel threatened, call 911 or Public Safety at 386-822-7300.
Lightning and Thunderstorm Emergencies
Do not call 911 unless you need to report an emergency, such as fire, medical emergency or severe building damage. 911 lines need to be kept open and available for emergency calls.
- A thunderstorm watch means thunderstorms are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms, and be prepared to seek shelter.
- A thunderstorm warning means a thunderstorm is imminent or has been indicated by radar. Seek shelter immediately.
It is recommended that each building and/or department purchase a NOAA Weather Alert radio with a battery backup and tone-alert feature that automatically alerts you when a watch or warning is issued. Purchase a battery-powered commercial radio and extra batteries as well.
Severe thunderstorms can often produce localized flooding. Avoid all flooded areas as they may contain unseen hazards.
Lightning Safety Facts
- Florida is the "Lightning Capital of the U.S." Florida has the highest lightning-related casualties among all 50 states.
- Central Florida, from Tampa to Titusville, is considered "Lightning Alley."
- Lightning is the number one weather killer in Florida (with a higher rate than hurricanes, tornadoes and drownings).
- June, July and August are the highest strike months, July being the worst.
- 10 percent of people struck by lightning are killed, while 70 percent suffer severe medical problems.
For more information, see NOAA's Lightning Safety page.
Lightning Safety Tips
- Have a lightning safety plan. Use a weather alert radio and a lightning observer when working outdoors.
- Use the "30-30" rule: If the time between lightning and thunder is 30 seconds or less, seek proper shelter. Wait at least 30 minutes from the last lightning/thunder before leaving the shelter.
- The best shelter is a fully enclosed, substantially constructed building. Open pavilions or carports are not safe.
- Avoid corded telephones, electrical appliances, power tools, metal doors, window frames and plumbing (e.g., bathtubs and showers).
- Vehicles with metal sides and roofs also provide adequate shelter. Roll the windows up and do not touch metal surfaces. Do not lean against vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles or fences.
- The most dangerous places to be are: under trees, in or near water (lakes, docks, etc.), open fields, beaches, golf courses, sports fields and around tall objects or metal objects.
- If caught outdoors and no shelter can be found, as a last resort: crouch down on the balls of your feet and put your hands over your ears - do not lie on the ground.
- Don't assume that if you don't see lightning, you're safe. Lightning can strike from storms that are miles away. If you can hear thunder, take precautions.
- For more info on lightning go to: NOAA's lightning information center.