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Civil Protection considering lightning rods for Solidarity hotels

Playa del Carmen, Q.R. – Hotels in the central coastal region of Playa del Carmen will go under a review of their facilities after the fatality of two young girls on a local beach.

Civil Protection of Solidarity is coordinating a review to determine if lightning rods should be added to hotels as a precautionary measure after two 13-year-old girls died last week and a third was critically injured.

The accident happened August 25 when three girls were swimming in the sea north of Fishermen’s Hotel in the community of Playacar. While they were in the water, lightning struck.

Civil Protection is gathering information about adding lightning rods along the coastal area of Playa del Carmen. A local official said that they want to add them to areas of the Playa del Carmen hotel zone starting this week. He says they are getting preventative safety inspection requests from concerned hotels.

The municipal meteorological department for Solidarity reports that weather conditions for this geographical area are favorable for the quick formation of rain and sudden isolated showers. They say that it’s important for residents and tourists to take shelter when they detect thunderstorms, and if you’re on the beach, to follow the advice of the lifeguards.

Antonio Morales Ocana, local meteorologist, explains, “If there is electrical activity, be very cautious of continuous lightning strikes. It’s important to protect yourself in a solid building and not under a tree or in open areas. In a high-risk area such as a beach where moisture acts as a driver of energy, you need to follow the instructions of the lifeguards to prevent accidents.”

Guillermo Morales Lopez, state coordinator of Civil Protection in the north, said that the rods are part of the Building Regulations of Cancun, but they are not mentioned for Solidarity.

Morales Lopez explained that “The shock from lightning always seeks the highest point. The important thing is to have a cable that provides a point of receiving the strike to a rod buried 9 meters deep. This allows the electricity to dissipate safely,” he said.

For rods to be effective, they must be attached to a copper or aluminum cable that’s connected to an underground conductive grid. But, because lightning tends to strike the tallest object in the area, the rods must be taller than any building or other object in the vicinity.

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