FORT CARSON, Colo. — During the summer months when temperatures rise, people flock to swimming pools to help cool off and enjoy a recreational activity that anyone can do.
While the pool can be enjoyable, it can also turn dangerous quickly. Shifting weather conditions can make this activity hazardous to everyone in and around the pool area.
According to the National Weather Service lightning strikes the United States roughly 25 million times a year. There have been eight deaths from lightning strikes this year between June 22, 2022, to July 20, 2022. Two of these deaths were near bodies of water.
Fort Carson had a lightning strike but, luckily, no one was injured.
On July 6, 2022, Cpl. Kyle Crouch, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, witnessed a lightning strike while on duty as a lifeguard at the Fort Carson Ellis Outdoor Pool that was a little too close for comfort.
The lifeguards on duty saw storm clouds coming over Cheyenne Mountain and started looking at a weather app to see the distance of lightning strikes in the area.
“We noticed that there was lightning 15 miles away, and we were gearing up to get everyone out of the pool,” said Crouch. “While I was on the phone with the weather center trying to get more accurate details on the lightning, we had a lightning strike 3 miles away, and we immediately started getting everyone out of the pool.”
As everyone was evacuated from the pool area within 5 minutes, there was a family that seemed to not be moving as fast as they should.
Crouch said he approached the family to tell them they needed to leave the area immediately when lightning struck the pool, causing an explosion of noise and light.
It startled everyone and caused the family to gather their belongings quickly and exit the pool area.
No one was injured, but this could have been worse if the family was any closer to the water.
Lifeguards are looking out for everyone’s safety whether it’s them telling someone not to run or telling people it’s time to evacuate the pool area because lightning was spotted. They are there to make sure everyone has a good, safe time at the pool.
“Listen to the lifeguards,” said Sgt. Ivette Lopez, 627th Hospital Center, a lifeguard at the Ellis Outdoor Pool. “We are here to make sure everyone is having fun but also being safe while they are doing it.”