Take precautions to prevent lightning injuries, emergency physicians advise

Reprints

Washington – Approximately 55 people are killed and hundreds more are injured each year in the United States as a result of lightning, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians.

“A person’s risk for lightning injury is most consistently related to their failure to take appropriate precautions,” said Dr. Sandra Schneider, president of ACEP. Although about 90 percent of lightning-strike victims survive, many are left with permanent disabilities.

To stay safe during a lightning storm, ACEP recommends:

  • If you are outdoors before or during a storm, locate shelter as soon as possible. An insulated building with plumbing and wiring is best. An enclosed motor vehicle with a metal top also is safe.
  • Turn off and stay away from electrical appliances, fireplaces, televisions, computers and power tools.
  • Do not use a landline phone with a cord. Cell phones or cordless phones are safe to use.
  • Avoid metal objects.
  • Wait 30 minutes from the last observed lightning flash before resuming activities.
  • If someone is struck by lightning, call 911 and administer appropriate first aid. Lightning-strike victims do not carry an electrical charge and are safe to touch.

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