First Aid

First Aid for a Lightning Strike

Lightning strikes might seem like extremely rare acts of God intended to smite down the wicked. Unfortunately, this is a myth on both accounts.

Lightning is one of the most common deadly weather phenomena. And it doesn’t happen only to evil people, it can happen to anyone, at any time the conditions for lightning are present. Lightning striking a person is still fairly rare. However, it’s common enough to warrant being prepared for. If you’ve come across someone who has been struck by lightning, your actions may determine the extent of their injuries and could even save their life.

Lightning Safety

If you encounter someone who’s been recently struck by lightning, you need to be very cautious. The idea that lightning never strikes twice in the same place is entirely a myth. In fact, places that have been struck lightning before are more likely to be struck again. If you want to do first aid on someone who’s been struck by lightning, you need to make sure they’re in a safe area first. Don’t worry about getting shocked by the victim, the electricity will have come and gone before you can even register it.
Lightning poses a threat, and so do the natural dangers that accompany lightning, such as severe storms and tornadoes. If lightning strikes, get yourself and the lightning victim to cover as quickly as possible from these and similar hazards. Don’t try to administer first aid in the middle of a lightning storm.

Call for Help

Lightning strikes aren’t always lethal, but they certainly can be. Call for emergency aid as quickly as possible. In certain circumstances, you may want to drive the person straight to the nearest medical center.

Check for Vitals

  • The first thing you should check for is responsiveness. Can the person still move, or talk to you? The person may be understandably incoherent, but if they’re able to function on their own, that’s a good sign.
  • Check the pulse. Is it still there? is it regular? If the answer is no, but you have access to an AED, consider using it, even if the person is conscious.
  • Check for breathing. If the person isn’t breathing, and you know CPR, you may perform it.

Lightning Strike First Aid

  • Get the person in a comfortable position, reclining or laying down. Try to elevate the limbs slightly.
  • If vital signs are negative, respond accordingly.
  • Check for any serious wounds. Typically, lightning will not cause bleeding unless the person falls on something sharp.
  • Check for burns. This is very common with lightning strikes. You may perform preliminary burn first aid on the person to ease pain and speed recovery.

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