Lightning strikes, critically injures child in Florida

Child’s age has not yet been released

An image of lightning. (Pixabay, Pixabay)

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – A child was struck by lightning and critically injured Thursday in Florida, fire rescue said.

Firefighters were called to Williams Park in Riverview, southeast of Tampa, around 4 p.m.

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The child was injured at a boat ramp and was taken to a nearby hospital.

Firefighters said the child, whose age has not been released, was in critical condition.

Florida ranked No. 1 in the Top Ten States by Total Lightning density and No. 2 in the Top Ten States by Total Lightning Count in 2021, according to the annual lightning report by Vaisala.

Here are some of the tips the National Weather Service offered for storm safety:

  • When thunder roars, go indoors. If you hear lightning, that means you are within striking distance. You must seek shelter and stay there until 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder, even if the rain stops.
  • Find shelter that has electrical wiring and plumbing during a thunderstorm. The safest location is inside a large enclosed structure with plumbing and electrical wiring like shopping centers, schools and office buildings.
  • Don’t use plugged in cell phones. This means that you should not be using a cell phone while it is being charged.
  • Stay away from windows and doors. Do not sit on an open porch to watch the thunderstorm; it is best to stay in an interior closed room.
  • Refrain from touching concrete surfaces. Lightning can travel through the metal wires or bars in concrete walls and flooring, such as the basement or garage.
  • If inside a vehicle, roll the windows up and avoid contact with any conducting paths leading to the outside of the vehicle, such as devices plugged in for charging, metal surfaces and the ignition.
  • Avoid plumbing. Metal plumbing and the water inside are very good conductors of electricity. Therefore, do not wash your hands or dishes, take a shower or do laundry during a thunderstorm.
  • If you or someone else gets struck by lightning, you can begin first aid immediately. People who get struck do not carry an electric charge. Call for medical help right away.

About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.