What to do when lightning strikes

Seek shelter indoors immediately if you sense a storm approaching 

NOT many people are aware of the dangers of lighting, says Chitra Bodasing, spokesperspon for ER24.
“A person who is electrocuted could be affected in a number of ways.
“The greater the voltage and longer the exposure, the greater the injury.”

Injuries commonly caused by lightning include burns and damage to the nervous system, heart, muscles or soft tissue.

William Stassen, ER24 paramedic, said, “The heartbeat is regulated by electrical impulses (small elec­tricity currents) that run through the heart that ­allows it to pump in a regulated and ordered manner.
“When a person is electrocuted, normal elec­trical impulses of the heart may be disrupted, causing disorganised currents. This may lead to cardiac arrest.

“Further to this, electrocution and lightning strikes may cause mild to severe burns depending on the voltage and the length of exposure. It may also cause breakdown of the muscle cells in the body, releasing potassium and other chemicals. These electrolytes and chemical surges may further interfere with the heartbeat and lead to renal failure.”

ER24 provided these important tips in cases of lightning:
• If you are outside, seek shelter indoors immediately if you sense a storm approaching.
• You should avoid high ground. Also avoid standing under a tree for shelter, avoid open structures and spaces as well as tall isolated objects such as street light poles.
• Get to safety as soon as possible. Get into a building or in a hard topped vehicle.

However, remember not to touch anything metal as a precaution.
Also remember to keep windows closed.
• If you are at home or in a building, you may still be at risk.
Avoid water, electronic equipment and windows.
• If you see someone who has been struck by lighting and they are unresponsive, immediately call for help.

Move them to a safer area if possible.
• If they are unresponsive and you are trained in CPR, immediately start chest compressions.
Do not delay the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) if available.