TAMPA, Fla — John Antapasis is the Emergency Coordinator for the City of Tampa.
He told ABC Action News that nationwide there’s an average of 36 lightning fatalities every year.
“Florida is the lightning capital of the united states... Lightning in the Tampa Bay region we know that as a threat for us, especially going into the spring thunderstorm season," Antapasis added.
According to the National Lightning Safety Council, there were 11 lightning fatalities in 2021, four of which were in Florida.
The council’s report shows lightning deaths are, however, trending down since 2016 when 40 people were killed.
An important tip to always remember is when you can hear thunder, lightning is close by.
“if you do catch yourself in a thunderstorm do not go under a tree. Do not have anything metal nearby or lay down. In the field. You want to get indoors as quickly as you can or inside your car to get cover from potential lightning strikes," Antapasis said.
Antapasis adds if you’re ever in a situation where someone is struck by lightning you should offer first aid and CPR and call 911 immediately.
“I think just Floridians, especially new people that have moved to the area. Be aware of our severe weather in the Tampa Bay region, and don't take it for granted. You know, don't go out onto the battlefield or out in open doors when you hear thunder in the background. Stay indoors and that's going to be the safest thing for you," Antapasis said.