Prevent Lightning Strike Injury
San Juan County does experienced severe summer storms so here are a few things to keep in mind about lightning:
Lightning is the number two weather-related killer in the US. Second to flash flooding.
Thousands of people are injured, but not killed by lightning every year. Many of the injuries have disabling long-term consequences.
During a thunderstorm there is NO safe place outside. Safe places include buildings with walls, closed doors, and closed windows. Standing in a garage, under an awning, in a picnic shelter, or in a tent is not adequate protection.
Lightning seeks a path to the ground by connecting to the nearest tallest object (but not always). Your risk of being struck increases with the square of your height.
Lightning can directly strike a person, splash on to a person off a roof or tree, or travel to a person via direct contact or ground current.
If you are caught outdoors during a thunderstorm:
Evacuate high risk areas—ridges, peaks, open fields, cliffs, towers, bleachers, and get off the water.
Seek shelter in a building or vehicle with windows and doors closed. If no shelter is available, insulate yourself from the ground with a pack, foam pad, or life jacket.
Crouch or sit in a small compact position and stay as low as possible.
There are many myths perpetuated about lightning.
Myth: Lightning is attracted to metal.
Truth: Lightning is attracted to the nearest, tallest object, which is often metal.
Myth: Lightning strike victims are electrified and cannot be touched.
Truth: Victims do not retain any charge. Assess and treat the patient immediately.
Myth: Lightning strike victims have internal burns.
Truth: Internal burns are highly unlikely. Burns are usually superficial or partial thickness skin burns.
Myth: Lightning strike survivors do not need hospital treatment.
Truth: Many injuries are delayed and any patient struck by lightning should receive hospital evaluation after field care.