Thunderstorm & Lightning Safety Tips


The severe weather the last 24 hours left a lasting impression on our area.

There's been a lot of street and yard flooding and lightning strikes started two residential fires.

Lightning, on the leading edge of the storm front, struck a home in the Riverside community off Highway 390 in Lynn Haven Sunday afternoon.

"The caller had stated that there was a lightning strike to their home and they smelled smoke and saw fire," said Capt. Wayne Gilmore, Bay Co. Fire Dept.

About an hour later, another strike sparked a fire at a Front Beach Road condo in Panama City Beach.

Fortunately no one was hurt in either fire, but they did cause extensive damages.

Emergency officials are offering some tips to prevent lightning fires.

First, avoid using landline telephones.

Also, don't shower or bathe during a storm and unplugging your electronics.

"We recommend you unplug all your electronics such as your computers and things like that. Put a surge protector on those," said Darrell Wise, Bay Co. Fire Battalion Chief.

You may also consider protecting your entire home with a lightning rod.

Wise said, "The lightning rod allows for a wire to go directly from the lightening rod to the ground so that the current doesn't go through your house."

All this is not an absolute guarantee lightning won't strike your home.

The best advice is to be prepared.

"You want to have an escape plan. know two ways out of every room," said Wise.


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