What to do when lightning strikes…

Do you know how to protect yourself from being struck by lightning? Know what to do if someone is struck? Whether you enjoy a walk in a country walk or climbing mountains, we’re here to help with our first aid for lightning strikes blog.

Most of the lightning strike’s current passes over the surface of the body – a process known as ‘external flashover’, but deep burns can occur at the point of contact.

Lightning strike first aid

Here are a few top tips:

1. Prevention is better than cure – so check the weather forecast. It sounds obvious but things change quickly. As well as checking out a range of forecasts, keep an eye on the clouds and know what to look for. If clouds are starting to tower and build, it’s time to review your location and head to a safer, less exposed place.

2. If you’re on high ground, lose height fast – making sure there’s higher ground around you. It’s best not to shelter in caves, under trees or cliffs, because they could be struck!

3. Crouch down on the balls of your feet – instead of lying down as you want to minimise contact with the ground. Insulating materials – such as camping mats underneath you can also be a good idea.

4. Separate yourself from any metal objects, like walking poles and ice axes and it’s best not to position yourself next to metal gates or fences.

5. Provide effective treatment. You can treat any burns in the usual way. If someone’s not breathing, call 999 and attempt CPR – no electrical charge remains after the event so it’s safe for you to touch them.

It may be easier said than done, but don’t panic. You’ll be better able to apply first aid for lightning strikes if you’re calm. Even if the casualty appears to be OK, it’s still vital to seek emergency care to rule out any medical complications. The heart relies on the correct electrical rhythm to keep you alive… so it’s pretty important!

To find out more about lightning strikes in the mountains, check out this page on the British Mountaineering Council’s website:


For information on mountain weather forecasts, have a look at these:

www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/mountain-forecast and www.mwis.org.uk

If you’d like to be able to deal with a variety of first aid issues with confidence, why not book a first aid course in Newcastle, the North East or wherever you need us! Simply get in touch for more information – we’re always happy to help!

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