In reply to G3CWI:
Your article in Radcom was very timely and comprehensive. As you rightly point out avoidance is by far the best policy.
However here’s a bit more info that might be of use if the worst happens and you are in a position to help:
Quoting from the standard MR textbook ‘Casualty Care in Mountain Rescue’ 2nd Ed Edited by John Ellerton
“The most common pattern is for a transient cardiac arrest with spontaneous recovery of the heart rhythm but a prolonged respiratory arrest. Indeed, lack of breathing is the most likely cause of death after a lightning strike. In such circumstances, artificial breathing, even for prolonged periods may be all that is needed. A casualty who does not suffer a cardiac or respiratory arrest has an excellent outlook; if supported and protected, spontaneous recovery occurs.”
Essentially then, timely mouth to mouth resuscitation by other survivors or rescuers can be a life saver.
There is some more stuff on secondary injuries due to being flung around and spinal injuries can also occur as well as injuries due to burns etc. The full internal effect of burns don’t always manifest until some time after so hospital assessment should always be sought afterwards even if someone appears to be ok.
Again if the worst happens it is important to remember that lightning does strike the same place twice and often evacuating casualties and survivors to a safer area becomes one of the highest priorities.
In terms of triage, again quoting the MR cas care handbook:
“If a group of people are affected, the priority of the rescuer is, unlike other situations, to leave anyone showing signs of life and concentrate on those with no breathing. Almost all people with any signs of life will recover without intervention.”
I have to say that if I were manning a radio link station (Even on a live mountain rescue callout) in the conditions shown on the video and described I would abandon the link, gear and all, taking only basic gear like my coat, survival bag, whistle, map and compass and leg it on to lower ground to wait until conditions changed and recover my gear later (30-30 rule). The escape needn’t be too far before the risk drops quite a lot, especially if you can get to a safe triangle at the base of a wall or cliff - a distance in front of the cliff which is the height of the wall but not within the first metre of the base. [MR cas care] [Langmuir, “Mountaincraft and Leadership” give ‘not within 3m’ of cliff base and minimum cliff height of 7m].
Oops, sorry this post has got a bit long.