Note that there can be risk of thunderstorm before receiving the visual or acoustic alarms, so the safety rules against this kind of phenomenon must be considered and you must apply the necessary prevention measures to avoid damages.
There are some early warning systems that allow you to receive in advance the probability of lightning strike.
People who are outside of a structure are more exposed to a risk of being struck by lightning, both direct impacts both to the step voltage.
People who are inside of a building they can also be exposed to hazards such as:
- The sharp increase in potential of power lines from the electrical broad, such as power lines, telephone cables or antenna elements.
- Metal objects inside a structure that can also reach high potential and contact stresses occur.
How to protect yourself from lightning strikes
Most lightning strike victims often occur just before or just after a stormy episode. This happens because obviously people are aware of the danger of going outside in the middle of a thunderstorm.
Lightning is a highly dangerous phenomenon, so you should avoid exposure to the risk of being hit by a electro atmospheric discharge.
People who want to protect themselves from lightning should follow next precautions we offer in this guide:
- Do not proceed with outdoor activities in case of storm risk. You must cancel all the programmed outdoor activities. It’s important to pay attention to the weather forecast and much more during the more frequent storms season. It’s also important to avoid trips to mountain when there is risk of storm.
- If you feel tingle in your skin, bristling hair and any metal object starts buzzing like a hive and it twinkles or/and flashes, the storm is coming.
- In case the storm starts while you are in outdoor activities you must look for a roofed building or a completely metal building or go into a car, turn the engine off and close all the windows. (Conventional tent doesn't offer any protection at all)
- Avoid running, even more in wet clothes, cycling or horseback. Avoid entering the water or swim.
- Avoid contact or proximity to metal structures, metal fences, rail road rails, etc ...
- Inside a building, avoid using fixed telephones connected to the telephone line cord.
In case of unavoidable exposure to lightning strikes
If the measures outlined in the previous section cannot be performed and the exposure to electrical storm is inevitable, take some body position suggestions as described below:
- Close the feet together as much as possible, is the most important step to avoid tension point, the damage to the body is produced by the current through it, if we reduce our step voltages we also reduce the current flowing through the body.
- You should reduce your height (squatting is the best position).
- Avoid placing hands on the floor or on any other grounded object.
- Stay away from high places, hills or promontories, and tall or isolated trees.
- Do not carry any object that protrude above the head (tools, ice axes, umbrellas, golf clubs, fishing rods, etc ...)
- Do not wear metallic objects (belt buckles, shoes with metal elements, glasses, earrings, etc ...)
- Keep your guard up to 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
First aid in case of lightning strike
The first aid to perform is the same as for electrical shocks or burn. Only those with the necessary knowledge and skill should carry out first aid as a quick as possible. A quick response can save the life of the person affected by lightning.
- If the person is unconscious, check pulse and breathing.
- If the person has pulse but no breathing, begin rescue breathing.
- If no pulse, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
- People who suffer cardiac arrest by lightning are more likely to leave the same as that due to other causes, so it is of utmost importance start the resuscitation as soon as possible.
- It’s important to check for other injuries such as fractures. In case of suspected spinal fracture prevent movement.
- You must look for burned zones especially in fingers and feet and close to buckles, jewelry, medals, or any other metal part. Two areas will present burn, corresponding to the input and output of the electric current.
- Keep the victim warm until the arrival of emergency teams.
- If a person struck by lightning is just stunned and it seems that he/she has no more significant injuries, still must receive medical assistance to assess the real impact of the beam on his/her body.