First Aid for Lightning Strike Victims

If the person is not responsive and not breathing, BEGIN CPR IMMEDIATELY. Use an Automatic External Defibrilator (AED) if available.

Dial 911 (or have someone else dial 911).

The first tenet of emergency care is "make no more casualties". Any rescuer must be aware of the continuation of danger that a lightning storm poses to the rescuers as well as to the victim(s). If the area is a high risk area (under a tree, mountain top, open field, etc.), it may be better that the rescuers who are in a relatively safer area wait until the danger has passed before exposing themselves.

It is relatively unusual for victims who survive a lightning strike to have major fractures that would cause paralysis or major bleeding complications unless they have suffered a fall or been thrown a distance. As a result, in an active lightning storm, if the rescuers choose to expose themselves to the lightning threat, it may be better to move the victim away from the area of risk (such as under a tree, etc.) rather than to give medical attention at the spot of the initial flash. Rescuers are reminded to stay as low as possible and provide as little area to the ground surface as possible.


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