ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. — The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office says a 16-year-old girl and her 60-year-old father were injured by a lightning strike Thursday afternoon while they were walking on St. Pete Beach.
City officials say the 16-year-old was struck around 4:53 p.m. behind the Tradewinds Island Grand Resort. Tradewinds staff moved her to a safe indoor area and performed CPR along with sheriff's deputies until EMS arrived.
Authorities say, due to his proximity to the strike, the father was treated and taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The teenager was also taken to a local hospital, authorities say she was last known to be in stable condition.
“When you hear thunder seek cover as quickly as possible in either a substantial building or hard-topped metal vehicle and remain there for at least 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder,” St. Pete Beach Fire Marshal Kelly Intzes said.
No other information has been released at this time.
The National Weather Service offers these tips for staying safe from lightning.
- When you hear thunder, go inside and stay there for at least 30 minutes after the last clap
- When lightning is in your area go inside a completely closed building — carports, open garages, covered patios and pavilions are not adequate shelter
- Check the forecast before going outside
- Have someone watch the skies during your outdoor work or activity
- Do not take shelter under a tree, especially if it's tall and isolated
- Get out of the water — including pools, lakes, rivers, oceans, water rides and even puddles of water
- Get off the beach!
- Put down metal objects, like fishing poles. Statistics from AccuWeather show that a majority of lightning deaths between 2006 and 2009 occurred while fishing.
- Move away from metal objects
If you're indoors, NWS recommends avoiding contact with electrical equipment and cords, moving away from windows and avoiding contact with plumbing. Meaning, do not take a shower or bath, wash dishes or do laundry — wait until after the storm is over.
How to help a lightning strike victim
If you observe someone being struck by lightning, here is what NWS says you should do.
- Call 911 immediately
- Check if the victim is conscious — gently shake them or call their name. If you don't get a response, gently roll them onto their back and check to see if they are breathing
- If they are not breathing perform CPR until paramedics arrive, using the ABC's of CPR
1. Airway: clear obstructed airways.
2. Breathing: perform mouth-to-mouth.
3. Circulation: start chest compressions.
NWS tackles these myths related to lightning strikes.
- Myth: Cars are safe because the rubber tires insulate them from the ground.
- Truth: Rubber tires provide no protection from lightning. Cars are safe because of their metal shell and steel frame. Convertibles are not safe.
- Myth: Lightning-strike victims are electrified and should not be touched.
- Truth: Lightning-strike victims carry no residual electrical charge. It is perfectly safe to touch a lightning victim to give them first aid.
- Myth: If it is not raining, then there is no danger from lightning.
- Truth: Lightning often strikes outside of the rain area to as much as 10 miles (even greater distances in exceptional situations).
- Myth: Heat lightning occurs after very hot summer days and poses no hazard.
- Truth: Heat lightning is a term used to describe lightning from a thunderstorm too far away for the thunder to be heard. The lightning hazard increases as you move toward the storm and eventually the thunder will also be heard.