More schools using lightning detection devices to stay safe

Posted at: 08/22/2014 4:36 PM
Updated at: 08/22/2014 6:36 PM
By: Jorge Torres, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A lightning strike at Picacho Middle School's football practice in Las Cruces this past Tuesday is a reminder of how dangerous lightning can be.

Five eighth-grade football players and a coach were hurt. Fortunately, they're all recovering.

When it comes to lightning, some schools go the extra mile to avoid a tragedy.

High schools in Rio Rancho use handheld lightning devices to make sure everyone on the field and stands are safe.

Some devices are fairly small and let out a beep when storms are up to 40 miles away. The device shown has four distance indicators that show how close the lightning is, and if it's coming toward or away from you.

The device works by detecting the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) emitted by a lightning strike. By measuring the strength of the pulse, the device can estimate how close the lightning strike is.

The handheld devices can go anywhere from as low as $45 if you purchase them online, or as high as $300 if you purchase them at an industrial plant store.