No trip to Asia ends without hiking through some active volcanoes and mountains, as well as the jungles or rainforests. However, when hiking, you often are at Mother Nature’s mercies. Flash floods, sudden storms, rock slides, as well as wild animals, are some of the surprises you might encounter with little or no warning while hiking. Therefore, it is advisable to be prepared on how to deal with such challenges while hiking in Asia. Lightning is among the surprises that you will experience while hiking and protecting yourself from the possible strike is vital.
In this article, we shall discuss how to stay safe from lightning while hiking in Asia.
It is said that there are few people who are struck by lightning while hiking. However, the number is declining steadily over the past few decades. Staying safe from a lightning strike is critical; therefore, you should be alert and play safely while hiking. It would be best if you acted accordingly when threatened by lightning. Always be keen on any possible lightning threats by doing the following;
Weather reports. Before you begin your hiking, it is advisable to check on the weather reports. Be vigilant whenever there are storms expected. Hiking during blue skies is highly recommended.
Weather patterns. Understanding the Asia weather patterns is critical when it comes to hiking. Typically storms often form in the afternoons on the mountains; therefore, planning an early morning hike is highly essential. You should as well get off the mountains immediately after lunch.
Cloud formation. Check for any cloud formation before commencing your hike. You should scan for cloud formation for approximately 15 minutes before you start hiking.
Assess for lightning. Check on the distant cloud for any presence of lightning. When a cloud has flashes or looks ominous, you should have safety or escape plan ready. Furthermore, you should ensure that everyone understands the rules before hiking.
Listening for thunder. Depending on the terrain, wind as well as the distance you might fail to hear the thunder till the lightning is exceptionally close. Upon hearing thunder, you should retrieve back to your shelter.
Lightning distance. Determining the range of lighting is critical for your safety. Once you see lightning flush count seconds until you hear the thunder. The total number seconds divide them by 5 to the approximated distance in miles.
The 30/30 rule. When you see lightning, count seconds until you hear thunder. If the seconds counted are less than 30, you should seek shelter.
Safety while outdoor. If you are not close to your sanctuary, you should consider seeking refuge in a depression or a valley. Furthermore, it would help if you stayed away from isolated trees as well as any other tall object.
Personal safety. If you are hiking with a hiking pole or any metal, ensure that it is at least 100 feet away from you. Moreover, it would be best if you considered seeking protection while hiking in groups and stay a minimum of 100 feet away from each other.
Positioning. During lightning, you should consider crouching on the ground. It would be best if you had your feet together and your weight on the balls of your feet. Additionally, lower your head as well as cover your ears. You should avoid lying flat on the ground.
Avoiding Possible Lightning Strikes
There is no single place that is safe from lightning; cars get hit, houses, animals, trees as well as people. However, minimizing the chances of getting struck by lightning is essential. You should note that picnic shelters, as well as other open areas, do not offer maximum protection against lightning strikes. When hiking during lightning here are some essential guidelines you will need to consider to reduce chances of a possible lightning strike;
Avoid picnic house. As previously mentioned, the picnic house and other open shelters are not ideal places for seeking asylum when lightning strikes. Moreover, you should stay away from isolated trees as well as ay tall object. It is better to be rained on rather than seeking shelter under an isolated tree or a picnic house.
Descend. It is advisable to descend from high places and seek refuge in a valley or any depression within a terrain. However, you should take extreme precautions when entering a dry wash since it might channel flash floods during a rainstorm.
Stay away from metallic objects. You should maintain 100 feet away from any metallic object while seeking shelter. Additionally, you should consider putting on your raingear and take off your backpack to minimize lightning strike.
Lightning First Aid
Lightning features extreme electric shock, and its first aid requirement is similar to those of stopped heart and burns. Here are some essential elements you should perform during a strike;
You should conduct a headcount once there is a close strike. You should have everyone call back to you, and if someone fails to respond, you should locate them. You should allow those who responded to gather. However, have everyone still spread out since there is still some danger of additional strike.
If there is no presence of an electrical residue after a lightning strike, it becomes safe to touch anyone that has been struck.
In a case where there are multiple victims, you should prioritize the care required. Usually, a victim who struggles or is not breathing is given the highest priority. You can perform CPR since there are chances of riving the struck victim.
You should assess and offer first aid care for victims with burns. Assess for burns within the jewelry, fingers, buckles as well as toes.
Treat any possible shock and ensure that the victim is warm and calm.
These safety measures are essential and are not exhaustive. Therefore, learning and understanding them is highly crucial for maximum safety while hiking in Asia.