Lightning detector installed at Viera Regional Park


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Earth Networks of Germantown, Maryland installed a new lightning detector at Viera Regional Park. The detector was purchased by the Space Coast United Soccer Club, the Suntree Viera Youth Football League and the Brevard Lacrosse Alliance.

Ernest Arico

In an effort to protect players, cheerleaders, coaches and spectators from potential lightning strikes, three youth sports leagues installed a lightning detector at Viera Regional Park.

The Space Coast United Soccer Club, the Suntree Viera Youth Football League and the Brevard Lacrosse Alliance signed a seven-year agreement to purchase the detector from Earth Networks of Germantown, Maryland for $3,980.

The purchase was split three ways. There is an annual fee of $2,399 that will be paid by the three leagues.

David Swanson, the parks maintenance supervisor at Viera Regional Parks, said Brevard County Parks and Recreation charged the soccer club an additional $200 for labor and materials to install electricity to power the detector.

Stephanie Holtkamp, the secretary to the executive board of the soccer club, said the lightning detector was a project of hers since June 2019.

 “It’s important to protect the safety of the coaches, players and fans,” she said.

Holtkamp said the detector went off three times in one week. “It’s a very valuable tool.”

There are three primary types of lightning detectors: ground-based systems using multiple antennas, mobile systems using direction and a sense antenna in the same location and space-based systems.

In-cloud lightning strikes account for the majority of lightning activity and usually serve as an early indicator of extreme weather — from heavy rain and hail to dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning strikes and tornadoes.

The detectors can:

Provide clear and accurate warnings when dangerous lightning occurs.

Enjoy peace of mind knowing your facility, staff and visitors are protected when storms threaten.

Receive advance lightning warnings and notifications on your mobile device.

Shaun Hartman, the president of the Suntree Viera Youth Football League, said his organization looked into purchasing one last year but found it too costly.

“It was too much for us as a single organization, but when the soccer league asked us to share in the cost we couldn’t pass up the opportunity,” he said. “It reduces the risk and liability for our coaches and players.”

The detector emits an audio and visual alarm when there is an approaching storm. “It’s a lot better than a person blowing an air horn to warn us.”