From The High Country | Lightning Safety

Lightning Safety

July 13, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Two people were recently killed by lightning strikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, and around 100 people are killed in the US each year by lightning strikes. Anyone who spends time in the wilderness should learn a few lightning related tips.


Be Alert

Check the weather forecast before leaving. Try to time activities to avoid storms.

Watch for approaching or forming storm clouds, and consider cutting short your activity.

If you see lightning and hear thunder less than 30 seconds (6 miles) later, get to a safe place immediately.

If your hair stands up, you are in imminent danger (see below for immediate action drill).


Stay Safe

If you're caught in a storm, do the following:

Get away from peaks, ridges, any tall objects and lakes or rivers.

Spread out if you're in a group.

Discard any metal objects (pack frames, hiking poles).

Adopt the lightning position - crouch low, ideally on an insulating material. Touch your heels together to protect against nearby strikes.


If Someone Is Struck

Everyone should have some degree of basic first aid training.

If someone in your party has been struck, first check for breathing and a pulse.

Administer artificial respiration and CPR if needed, and closely monitor your casualty while assessing for other injuries (burns, fall related injuries) and shock.

Evacuate your casualty as fast as is safe to do so.


None of the advice offered above will provide any guarantees. Lightning can strike up to 30 minutes after a storm. It is unpredictable and deadly.




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