National Wildfire Coordinating Group

RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR)

When Lightning Strikes

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Review the anatomy of a lightning strike and the safety precautions if you are caught in a lightning storm.
Category: Hazards
Core Component(s): Incident Reviews and Lessons Learned
Estimated Delivery Time: 30 minutes; Video Length: 11:34



Increase knowledge of the characteristics of a lightning strike, evaluate the risk, identify the warning signs of a potential lightning strike, and recognize lightning-related injuries and their symptoms.

Facilitator Preparation

  • Review the video and module tools.
  • Consider additional activities and discussion questions pertinent to the location and agency.

Facilitating the Discussion

  • Show the video.
  • Present the scenario below and guide students through the exercise.

Conduct Activity


You are part of a four-person rappel crew on initial attack of a ¼ acre lightning fire in subalpine fir on a sparsely wooded ridge in the late afternoon. There is a cumulonimbus cell approaching your position from the southwest and you begin to hear thunder and see lightning flashes within the anvil shaped cloud. You estimate the cell is seven to nine miles away and approaching fast.

  1. What are your actions and why?
  2. What warning signs influenced your decision?
  3. If a crew member is struck by lightning, what initial medical procedures do you implement?
  4. What medical transport concerns do you have?
  5. Have you been on an incident that involved personnel being involved in a lightning strike? If so, what was the outcome?


Additional Video Information

This video is also available as a download.(Size 125 MB)
Download the .srt file for closed captioning (you may need to right click and Save As). For information on how to add closed captioning to a video, see this how to page.

Note: For Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, right click the word download and select Save Link As; for IE, right click and select Save Target As.



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