21 October 2020

Lightning On A Mountain

It takes the sound of thunder five seconds to travel one mile. Count the seconds between the flash of lightning and the sound of thunder.

If you count ten seconds between the flash of lightning and the sound of thunder; then lightning is two miles from your location.

5 Seconds = 1 Mile
10 Seconds = 2 Miles
15 Seconds = 3 Miles
20 Seconds = 4 Miles
25 Seconds = 5 Miles
30 Seconds = 6 Miles


Once lightning is six miles or closer; thirty seconds or less; from your location - you are in danger. Especially on an exposed mountain.

We have a 30/30 Rule. When lightning is thirty seconds or closer, take shelter/take precaution for thirty minutes.


What To Do On A Mountain:
1. Move off anywhere exposed (if possible) and take the best shelter you can. A hollow/gully/re-entrant/saddle can be good. You want to move off any peak/ridge/spur.

2. Move off wet/boggy/swampy ground.

3. Sheltering in a cave is fine, once you are deep in the very back. You do not want to be in a cave entrance, a shallow cave, or sheltering under an overhanging rock.

4. Separate your party by 50 meters apart. Lightning can jump from person to person if you are too close together. You see this happen with cows, where several are killed as that one lightning strike jumps from cow to cow.

5. Get rid of anything metal, anything with batteries, and your gps/phone.

6. Insulate yourself off the ground by sitting on your backpack. Your feet should also be pulled up onto your backpack. Head tucked down, eyes closed, and importantly - hands firmly over your ears to prevent an eardrum rupturing.

7. If you have no backpack adopt the lightning position. This is crouching down, on the balls of your toes, feet close together. Head tucked down, eyes closed, and hands firmly over your ears.

8. If caught in woods move into a patch of smaller/shorter trees; not into the taller trees.

9. If you have a lightning casualty, they may well not be breathing. In this case you perform cpr until emergency help arrives.

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