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Workers outdoors have different reactions to the threat of lightning

Posted at 4:47 PM, May 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-17 18:59:27-04

A deadly lightning strike in Parkland is a reminder of just how sudden danger can strike when storms are rolling through. And the victims are similar to so many people in South Florida whose jobs keep them out in the elements, rain or shine. 

Many outdoor jobs can be dangerous, especially those requiring sharp tools or heavy machinery. 

"We climb the trees and we have to get in the bucket. We're 40 feet in the air, it's very challenging," said Daniel Valencia, with DV Tree Service.

Valencia owns his own company and says there are many days in Florida where his crews get caught in the rain. But, if there's lightning, Valencia calls it a day.

"I canceled a couple. I had to cancel two of them, but you know it's part of the business," said Valencia. 

Paul Sugrue at Nozzle Nolen Pest Control knows the feeling.

"It's a bit ironic cause this weather generates a lot of business, you know, mosquitoes are hatching and everyone is worried about the yellow fever we've heard about and the termites start swarming, and yet your hands are kind of tied," said Sugrue. 

OSHA recommends employees go into a building, but if that's not possible, get in a hard-topped metal car with rolled up windows. But, there are those who can't afford to pack up and leave. 

"I feel raindrops, I just get my raincoat," said Timothy Putzig. "We're like the mailman out here, we got to be out here just like them." 

Putzig rides his bike flashing ads for tires and alignment services. If he's not riding across Okeechobee Boulevard, he doesn't get paid. 

"You got to be out here if you want money," he said. 

Once you seek shelter from lightning, you should wait 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before you go outdoors. 

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