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Team MacDill practices lightning safety

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Tori Schultz
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

“There is lightning within in five nautical miles.”

Military members working or living on MacDill Air Force Base (AFB), Florida, often hear this automated message through their work computers or the giant voice when a storm occurs.

“Mid-June to mid-September is when most lightning occurs in our area,” said Master Sgt. Christopher Furtado, flight chief of the weather office assigned to the 6th Air Mobility Wing (AMW). During a storm, it is important that anyone outside find shelter indoors.

“If caught outside, always seek shelter; you are safest inside a building, enclosed vehicle, or an aircraft,” said Jason Jackson, occupational safety manager assigned to the 6th AMW Safety Office. “Avoid open fields or being on top of hills and stay away from tall or isolated trees and other tall objects, these all attract lightning.”


He also stressed that local residents should avoid bodies of water, wet items, and metal objects, as these are all conductors for electricity and could cause great bodily harm or injury to an individual when struck by lightning.


“In the past 10 years, there have been at least 15 incidents of lightning striking objects and or people on MacDill; luckily no one was fatally injured,” said Jackson. “There have been numerous property damage incidents from aircraft, to ground equipment, to facilities. This list doesn't include all the times that transformers, wiring, internal equipment, and trees have been struck.”


According to the National Weather Service, lightning can strike up to 10 or more miles away from a storm. If you hear thunder, lighting is close enough to pose an immediate threat. Do not be fooled by blue skies.


When you hear the automated message on your computer or on the giant voice stay inside or seek shelter.