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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

What To Do If Someone Is Struck By Lightning

7/25/2022 (Permalink)

Lightning strikes the United States about 25 million times a year. 

Lightning kills 20 or more people in the U.S. each year, and hundreds more are severely injured, according to theNational Weather Service. 

Here at SERVPRO of White Plains, we have some tips that came from a combination of research and local weather stations on what to do if someone is stuck by lightning  


Lightning may cause many injuries, including heart attacks, burns, shock, and sometimes blunt trauma. Treat each of these injuries with basic first aid until help arrives. Do not move victims who are bleeding or appear to have broken bones. 

When someone is struck by lightning, get emergency medical help as soon as possible. If more than one person is struck by lightning, treat those who are unconscious first. 

Lightning often causes a heart attack. Check to see if the victim is breathing and has a heartbeat. 

If the victim is not breathing, immediately begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. If the victim does not have a pulse, start cardiac compressions as well (CPR). Continue resuscitation efforts until help arrives. If the area is cold and wet, putting a protective layer between the victim and the ground may help decrease hypothermia (abnormally low body temperature). Perform hands only CPR 

Hands-Only CPR is CPR without giving breaths. Meaning there is no mouth-to-mouth contact. Recent guidelines developed by the American Heart Association, promote Hands-Only CPR as an acceptable way for a bystander to help a victim suffering from cardiac arrest.  

The method is gaining in popularity because it’s an attractive option to bystanders who are usually less than willing, to give mouth-to-mouth.  

How is Hands-Only CPR Done? 

The rescuer starts compressions over the heart, at about the nipple line, and compresses at a regular rhythm. That rhythm is approximately 100-120 beats per minute. 

When people perform Hands-Only CPR they are more likely to remember the correct rate when trained to the beat of a familiar song. Here’s a list of some common songs that coincide with the 100-120 beats per minute. 

  • Staying Alive by the Bee Gees 
  • Walk the Line by Johnny Cash 
  • Crazy in Love by Beyonce 
  • Hips Don’t Lie by Shakira 

Is Hands-Only CPR Effective? 

Hands-Only CPR helps to maintain brain and heart function and two studies have researched the effectiveness of it. B 

American Heart Association still recommends CPR with compressions and breaths for infants and children and victims of drowning, drug overdose, or people who collapse due to breathing problems. 

More Helpful Tips During an Emergency 

  • When you call 911, you need to stay on the phone. Don’t hang up until the 911 dispatcher (operator) tells you to.  
  • Put the phone on speaker and set it next to the victim. The dispatcher will ask you about the emergency.  
  • The dispatcher will ask for details, such as your location. It’s important to be specific. Remember, mobile phones don’t have a fixed location or address and you may dial 911 and another district may answer.  
  • Remember that answering the dispatcher’s questions will not delay the arrival of help. 

Best things to remember:  

No place outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area. 

If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you. 

When you hear thunder, immediately move to a safe shelter - a substantial building with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up. 

Stay in a safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder. 

Stay safe, we are lucky as we rarely see lightning after the summer here in the northeast 

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