Current Watches and Warnings
Colorado, Wet Mountains above 10000 Ft
Public Information Statement
Statement as of 4:00 PM MDT on June 24, 2015
Colorado lightning safety awareness week continues through tomorrow.
Today we discuss lightning medical issues for survivors.
The facts about lightning strike victims...
In Colorado... cloud-to-ground lightning flashes occur nearly a half
million times each year. With millions of visitors and extensive
outdoor activities... it is not surprising that... on average... three
people are killed by lightning while 13 are injured. Last year, one
person was killed while hiking on Mount Yale. Seventeen other people
were injured in several lightning strike incidents across the
While any lightning fatality is tragic... injuries caused by
lightning can be devastating to both the victim and the family. For
those who have a family member or relative that suffers a
significant disability from lightning... life changes forever. In
addition to the physical pain and mental anguish suffered by the
victim and their family... the incident may lead to a loss of income
for all involved as medical expenses can drain the familys financial
If someone is struck by lightning... it is critically important that
they receive the appropriate medical attention immediately. Some
deaths can be prevented if the victims are attended to promptly.
Lightning victims do not carry an electrical charge and are safe to
handle. First... check to see that the victim is breathing and has a
pulse... and start cardio-pulmonary resuscitation... cpr if needed.
Then have someone dial 9-1-1.
If possible... move the victim to a safer place. Do not let the
rescuers become lightning victims. Lightning can strike the same
Lightning strike victims may face many mental challenges that they
will have to live with for the rest of their lives. When the brain
is affected by a lightning strike... the person often has difficulty
with many of the mental processes that most people take for granted.
The person may suffer from short-term memory loss... and may have
difficulty storing new information and accessing old information.
Victims may often find it very difficult to carry on more than one
task at a time... and may be easily distracted. Their personality
may change and they may become easily irritated.
Lightning strike victims often becoming easily fatigued and may
become exhausted after only a few hours of work. This may be
because mental tasks that were once automatic may now require
intense concentration to accomplish. Although some victims may
sleep excessively at first... after a few weeks many find it
difficult to sleep more than two or three hours at a time.
Another common long-term problem for survivors is pain.
Medically... pain is difficult to quantify. Lightning strike victims
often suffer irreparable nerve damage that causes intense pain that
affects the ability to function. Many survivors complain of chronic
headaches... some of which are very intense and debilitating.
Lightning strike and electric shock survivors... international... is a
support group to individuals and families that are struggling with
life after a lightning injury. Helpful information is available at
their web address:
In addition... noaas lightning website contains abundant information
on lightning safety and can be found at...
Lightning information specific for the state of Colorado can be
The lightning topic for tomorrow will be lightning caused fires.
NWS Pueblo, co
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