Lightning #5 – Prevention
Prevention of a lightning strike & resulting injury:
When a thunderstorm approaches – go inside.
If in the outdoors, avoid the areas most likely to be struck:
Anything high: mountain tops, hilltops, tall trees, towers.
Anything metal: ski poles, pack frames, bicycles, fences.
Do not sit under trees to protect you from the rain.
Do not get under shelters that only have roofs.
Get small, get low, do a lightning drill.
If on water, Get Off. When on water, you are the highest object around.
Get at least 100 yards away from lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, the ocean.
Put on your rain gear and prepare for foul weather.
Get below tree line; if not possible, get away from summits and ridges.
Get away from anything tall– the tallest tree in the woods, towers.
Get away from the water’s edge, at least 100 yards.
Spread the group out; do not hold hands or sit back-to-back.
Sit on something insulated, such as an ensolite pad, with your legs crossed.
Try to have only one point of contact on the ground.
Try to avoid being a conductor of the ground current.
For more detailed information about lightning and lightning-related injuries see the Wilderness Medicine Newsletter, Lightning – Beauty & the Beast, July/August 2003.
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