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Unfortunately effects of a non fatal lightning injury are often severe and long lasting - often life changing. They can include impaired mental ability and chronic pain.
But survival is better than alternative, and immediate first aid after a lightning strike is critical.
The first thing to remember is that injured person is not "live" - you won't get a shock when you touch them.
Secondly, CPR - cardio pulmonary resuscitation - should always be attempted if victim has no pulse or is not breathing. A lightning strike can stop either or both of heart or breathing.
Thirdly, medical attention is necessary, even if person seems to have recovered.
Reducing The Risk of a Lightning Strike
Many, if not most, lightning casualties are avoidable. The small but real risks can be minimised by making a few small sacrifices to your present enjoyment. The peace of mind you gain will make it worthwhile.
Firstly, move to safest possible shelter as soon as you are aware of an approaching storm. Careful observation of weather is a good guide, and lightning detectors are definitely worth considering, particularly if you are responsible for others such as a children's sports team or an outdoor work crew.
In most cases, once you can hear thunder you are within danger zone, and it's time to move quickly.
Now I know that almost every time an early move to shelter will turn out to be unnecessary, and you may not always get a warm reception for your course of action. But imagine alternative if half a dozen kids are injured or worse after a lightning strike during a soccer or baseball game.
The best shelter is a fully enclosed building, bearing in mind easily avoidable risks associated with telephones, electric appliances and plumbing.
Next best is an all metal car with windows closed - preferably not parked at top of a hill or under a tall tree.
Probably third choice would be in a group of small trees - assuming there are taller ones around. Tall trees are high risk, as are isolated structures such as water tanks. Partly open sheds are of dubious value and offer their occupants little protection if struck.
Open spaces are dangerous places to be, and you should have plenty of time to move elsewhere. Being highest point in a large area is not a good survival strategy.
If however you have no alternative, look for a lower area that is not water logged, squat down on balls of your feet, with your head down. Don't lie on ground, and stay away from wire fences.
And once you are safe, just sit back and enjoy show.
Copyright 2005, Graham McClung. A retired geologist, Graham McClung has had a lifelong interest in the outdoors. And where there's outdoors there's weather. He is the editor of Home-Weather-Stations-Guide.com, where you can find reviews and advice to help you choose and use your own home weather station. You can contact him by email at email@example.com