AUSTIN (KXAN) – A new system in place to watch over kids near Lake Travis uses science to save lives when it comes to detecting lightning.
Alexander Hermann was at the Lake Travis Youth Association Field of Dreams last summer in Bee Cave when a bolt of lightning from a storm several miles away hit the field. Now, that field has a lightning warning system and more changes are on the way.
“As a mother, you don’t wish that upon anybody’s child,” said Traci Copenhaver, who remembers hearing about the lightning that struck and injured the 9-year-old. “It’s a sad deal.”
Now, tragedy is motivating change.
“Our hearts go out to that poor family who was literally devastated by an event out of the clear blue,” said Adrian Overstreet. He and his business partners are now putting in a lightning warning system at the Sonesta Hotel they are opening.
They also required the youth league at a ball field on their property to put in a system too. When there is a danger of lightning, the siren blasts and lights flash. Signs also give safety instructions.
The partners are also donating $10,000 for the City of Bee Cave to put in another system. Once installed at the city’s central park, the siren should cover 35 acres. That is enough to warn people in the most populated areas of the 50-acre park about the threat of lightning.
“It doesn’t take much or many of those events to where the economics of it is just so compelling,” said Overstreet.
“I mean anything that can help with the safety of our kids,” Copenhaver added.
Overstreet believes when life is the possible price of not taking action, technology can help kids and parents make the call to keep everyone safe.
A parks department spokesperson with the City of Austin said the city does not currently use these systems in its parks.
Hermann is still recovering from the injuries he suffered.