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This is known as the ground current. In the U.S., experts estimate the annual number of lightning injuries is 243. That’s 8,170,185 potential direct lightning strike victims! That stops the heart. Ground currents account for 50% of all lightning strike fatalities. Lightning can travel long distances in wires or other metal surfaces. We also call these contact strikes. The video below shows an Earth Networks Total Lightning Network analysis of a case where a lightning strike traveled through a cell phone charging wire and struck a teenager. That way, you’ll know exactly what can happen if you’re ever struck by lightning. There are many lightning safety tools like weather maps, lightning apps, horns, strobes, and special alerts, but they only work if they use total lightning detection. If the victim is conscious and needs treatment for shock, lay them down with their head slightly lower than their torso and legs. This is because ground current affects a much larger area than direct strikes, side flashes, conduction, and streamers. Ground current lightning strikes typically go up one leg and out the other. The first step in preventing lightning strike injuries and fatalities is understanding how lightning forms. A side flash (also called a side splash) occurs when lightning strikes a taller object near the victim and a portion of the current jumps from taller object to the victim. It is safe to touch lightning victims. Germantown, MD 20876, lightning strike at a PGA Tour Championship. Not everyone that gets struck by lightning dies. A lot of times, lightning strike victims need the help of medical professionals and/or close friends and family to identify and treat the lightning strike side effect. When we talk about the mild symptoms lightning strike victims may experience, we don’t mean they are no big deal. Streamers are a part of most lightning strikes. A person struck directly by lightning becomes a part of the main lightning discharge channel. These can impair vision significantly and often require surgical removal. Another mild medical effect lightning strike victims often experience is hearing loss or hearing problems. Also known as Otolaryngologic injuries, hearing injuries from lightning strikes happen when the lightning channel’s sonic shock wave causes an acoustic rupture of the tympanic membrane. Did you that our total lightning detection network detected 8,170,185 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in the U.S. during the first six months of 2019 alone? Have you ever wondered what happens when you get struck by lightning? The chance of being struck by lightning is just 1 in 10,000. If you’re struck by a direct lightning strike, a portion of the current moves along and just over the skin surface. See Robert’s story as an example of a streamer injury. If a person is part of one of these streamers, they could be killed or injured during the streamer discharge even though the lightning channel was not completed between the cloud and the upward streamer. Once medical professionals arrive on the scene, they will assess the victim’s condition and bring them to a hospital or nearby medical center. Most indoor lightning casualties and some outdoor casualties are due to conduction. A lot of side flash lightning strike victims are those seeking shelter under a tree or other tall object, which is something you should never do during a thunderstorm. Conduction lightning strikes happen when lightning travels through wires or metal surfaces before hitting a person. Lightning strikes can inflict both cardiovascular and neurological damage on the human body. Side flashes generally occur when victims are a foot or two away from the object that is struck. According to our friends at the National Weather Service (NWS), lightning strikes and kills an average of 43 people per year in the United States. Indirect Lightning Strikes Can Kill. Ground current causes the most lightning deaths and injuries in both people and animals. According to our lightning scientists, direct strikes are responsible for the least amount of lightning strike fatalities and injuries, accounting for just 3%. In addition, ground current can travels in garage floors with conductive materials. Any of these types of strikes can be deadly. When you about think being struck by lightning, a direct strike is probably what comes to mind first. Side flashes are responsible for about 33% of lightning fatalities. There could be charges flowing from surrounding areas towards the point of strike too, as a bolt of lightning has short pulses of current going up as well as coming down. If the victim does not seem to be in shock and can move, move to a lightning safe shelter like a grounded building or vehicle. Lightning strikes can cause both anterior and posterior coarse subcapsular opacities in the eye. Luckily, people nearby rushed to his aid. Lightning burns are a type of electrical burn characterized by a unique pattern of skin lesions. Please Contact Us. You can read Brian’s entire story on our blog. If the person is unconscious and does not appear to be breathing normally, has no breath, or no pulse, use an automated external defibrillator (AED) if one is on hand. 12410 Milestone Center Dr., Suite 300 hbspt.cta.load(3854287, '78c25d09-0553-43ea-a5d9-1939db140518', {}); Besides cataracts, lightning strikes can also cause corneal damage and complete blindness. Remember to always take indoor lightning safety seriously. Immediate medical attention, including calling 911, starting CPR, and using an AED, may be critically important to keep the person alive until more advanced medical care arrives. There is no way to stop a lightning strike from happening, so how do you protect people? A side flash (also called a side splash) occurs when lightning strikes a taller object near the victim and a portion of the current jumps from taller object to the victim. Download a PDF version of the guide you can reference later. They performed CPR and called 911, saving the man’s life. Typically, the lightning enters the body at the contact point closest to the lightning strike, travels through the cardiovascular and/or nervous systems, and exits the body at the contact point farthest from the lightning.

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