XM is useful, radar updates every 5 minuts, it shows lightning data and when a county is warn. It is not cheap, I paid like 950 bucks, and depending on the data you purchase it can run from $49 to $99 a month, plus you are charge a $100 activiation fee, when you first signed up. For the XM ground system now, I have no idea of what the costs are, since they moved it to mobilethreat dot com. XM has it flaws also. I went without XM for 2 months and felt lost without having it.
Great contribution Michael...I hope you were kidding and not trying to be a jerk.
Rod, a number of Recreational professionals utilize lightning detection equipment. The department I work for now utilizes a Thunderbolt lightning detector. They have had it for a few years now. They are not convinced of its effectiveness. I haven't been able to get my hands on it yet to mess with it, so I don't have much input for you.
The Thunderbolt can be found, among other places I'm sure, at Ambientweather.com
Actually, Michaels comments were what I was getting at... usually I don't need any help wondering if there is lightning around. The strike that usually gets you is the first one.. and if that is the case, then the detector isn't going to help you much. Unless you are stuck indoors and need to know if there is lightning around points of interest.. I don't see much need in a lightning detector. I would think that as a volunteer firefighter, you would be outside quite often.