Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hiking In Thunderstorms

Hikes to peaks need to start early, so you can get to the top and get back down before the afternoon clouds build up.

During a lightning storm stay in a section of forest of trees the same height, not on a ridge, not under the tallest trees, not in a cave, under a rock overhang, leaning against a tree or standing on the exposed roots of a tree.

If caught out in an open area (you saw the clouds forming, and you had plenty of time to get to a safe place--what are you doing there?), spread everybody far apart and crouch down (don't lie down). Keep your feet close together. Keep your hands off the ground. Do not lie flat on the ground!!

This position includes squatting (or sitting) and balling up so you are as low as possible without getting prone. Wrap your arms around your legs, both to offer a safer path than your torso for electrons to flow from the ground, and to add enough comfort that you will choose to hold the position longer.Keep your feet together so you don't create potential for current to flow in one foot and out the other ... current may spontaneously trigger your leg muscles to jump while in the lightning position, so take care to avoid being near hazards when you drop into this position.
Crouch on something insulating if possible, such as your ensolite sleeping pad, or climbing rope. Even dry moss or grass or a snow patch is better than bare rock. Especially if you have to sit instead of crouch, get some insulation under your buttocks.

Get metal objects away from you (they don't attract lightning but they carry induced currents which, although they are small, can add to ground currents and make the difference between getting zapped a little and getting zapped too much or burnt. A woman's watch was burned to her wrist in one instance.)

Stay out of small depressions. Pick a slight rise instead. Not in standing water or a puddle.
Hey! Spread out your group so you aren't all hit at once
But mostly, pick a place quickly and get down, and stay down.

Estimating the Distance from a Thunderstorm

Because light travels much faster than sound, lightning flashes can be seen long before the resulting thunder is heard. Estimate the number of miles you are from a thunderstorm by counting the number of seconds between a flash of lightning and the next clap of thunder. Divide this number by five.

Treatment Principles

· Scene Safety: Avoid further injury to survivors, rescuers, and the patient. You may have to wait for the storm to pass to treat
some patients if they are in extremely hazardous locations.

· Basic Life Support: Rescuers should be prepared to provide prolonged rescue breathing.

· Triage: Unlike normal triage protocols in multi-casualty situations, attend first to those who are in cardiac or respiratory arrest
without obvious lethal injury.

· Assessment: All patients require a complete body survey and careful evaluation for head, spinal, long bone, or cardiac injuries.

Peripheral pulses, and sensory and motor status, should be assessed. Check the skin for small hidden burns.

· Monitor closely for cardiovascular, respiratory and neurological collapse.

· Evacuate any patient obviously injured by lightning, and be alert for lingering physical or neurological issues from exposure to
lightning that should be evacuated for further evaluation and treatment.

No comments:

Post a Comment