Sounds like a very interesting day at work. We had lightning in our area, too. But it was not that close!! Hopefully, your coworker has not suffered any permanent hearing damage.
Every year when our temporary employees start work at the ranger station, we give them a safety presentation on lightning and it is a good refresher for the permanent workforce, also. Working out in the forest with lightning strikes happening all around can be a very frightning experience.
Here is some good general information from the National Lightning Safety Institute.
As we head towards summer and lightning storms become more frequent across the United States it is important to practice lightning safety. Be safe and have a fun summer!!
Personal Lightning Safety Tips
1. PLAN in advance your evacuation and safety measures.
When you first see lightning or hear thunder, activate your emergency plan. Now is the time to go to a building or a vehicle. Lightning often precedes rain, so don't wait for the rain to begin before suspending activities. 2. IF OUTDOORS...Avoid water. Avoid the high ground. Avoid open spaces.
Avoid all metal objects including electric wires, fences, machinery, motors, power tools, etc. Unsafe places
include underneath canopies, small picnic or rain shelters, or near trees. Where possible, find shelter in a substantial building or in a fully enclosed metal vehicle such as a car, truck or a van with the windows completely shut. If lightning is striking nearby when you are outside, you should:
A. Crouch down. Put feet together. Place hands over ears to minimize hearing damage from thunder.3. IF INDOORS... Avoid water. Stay away from doors and windows. Do not use the telephone. Take off head sets.
B. Avoid proximity (minimum of 15 ft.) to other people.
Turn off, unplug, and stay away from appliances, computers, power tools, & TV sets. Lightning may strike exterior electric and phone lines, inducing shocks to inside equipment.
4. SUSPEND ACTIVITIES for 30 minutes after the last observed lightning or thunder.
5. INJURED PERSONS do not carry an electrical charge and can be handled safely.
Apply First Aid procedures to a lightning victim if you are qualified to do so. Call 911 or send for help immediately.
6. KNOW YOUR EMERGENCY TELEPHONE NUMBERS.
Teach this safety slogan:
"If you can see it, flee it; if you can hear it, clear it."
Please reprint & distribute.
Prepared by the
National Lightning Safety Institute, Louisville, CO.