Lightning Safety

Excerpts Pertinent to Hiking from U.S. Forest Service re Lightning:

Avoid high terrain during high lightning activity.
Find a safe place to shelter as the storm passes through.
[OK, good advice, but if that hasn’t happened ….]

    • If you are caught above the tree line when a storm approaches, descend quickly. Avoid isolated trees. It is better to retreat into the woodline.
    • Hikers should run into a forest if a shelter or car is not nearby.
    • Drop metal objects like umbrellas, fishing poles and packs with internal or external metal frames.
    • If you are caught in an open area, seek a low spot.
    • Crouch with your feet together and head low.
    • Don’t sit or lie down, because these positions provide much more contact with the ground, providing a wider path for lightning to follow.
    • If you are with a group and the threat of lightning is high, spread out at least 15 feet apart to minimize the chance of everybody getting hit
    • Don’t return to an open area too soon. People have been struck by lightning near the end of a storm, which is still a dangerous time.
    • People who have been hit by lightning carry no electric charge and can be safely tended to. Also, victims who appear dead can often be revived. If the person is not breathing, begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. But if a pulse is absent as well and you know cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), begin CPR. Stay with the victim until help arrives.
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