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Lightning Policy

1.   Establish a chain of command that identifies who is to make the call to remove individuals from the field.
2.   Name a designated weather watcher (A person who actively looks for the signs of threatening weather and notifies the chain of command if severe weather becomes dangerous).
3.   Have a means of monitoring local weather forecasts and warnings.
4.   Designate a safe shelter for each venue.  (Alumni Gymnasium or the Brock Center).
5.   Use the Flash-to-Bang count to determine when to go to safety.  By the time the flash-to-Bang count approaches thirty seconds all individuals should be already inside a safe structure.
6.   Once activities have been suspended, wait at least thirty minutes following the last sound of thunder or lightning flash prior to resuming activity or returning outdoors.
7.   Avoid being the highest point in an open field, in contact with or proximity to, the highest point, as well as being on the open water.  Do not take shelter under or near trees, flagpoles or light poles.
8.   Assume the lightning-safe position (crouched on the ground weight on the balls of the feet, feet together, head lowered, and ears covered) for individuals who feel their hand stand on end, skin tingle, or hear crackling noises.  Do not lie flat on the ground.
9.   Observe the following basic first aid procedures in managing of victims of a lightning strike:
             a. Survey the scene for safety
             b. Activate local EMS
             c. Lightning victims do not “carry a charge” and are safe to touch.
             d. If necessary, move the victim with care to a safer location.
             e. Evaluate airway, breathing, and circulation, and begin CPR if necessary.
             f. Evaluate and treat for hypothermia, shock, fractures and/or burns.
10.   All individuals have the right to leave an athletic site in order to seek a safe structure if the person feels in danger of impending lightning activity, without fear of repercussions or penalty from anyone.

Safe Shelter

1.   A safe location is any substantial, frequently inhabited building.  The building should have four solid walls (not a dug out), electrical and telephone wiring, as well as plumbing, all of which aid in grounding a structure.
2.   The secondary choice for a safer location from the lightning hazard is a fully enclosed vehicle with a metal roof and the windows completely closed.  It is important not to touch any part of the metal framework of the vehicle while inside it during ongoing thunderstorms.
3.   It is not safe to shower, bathe, or talk on landline phones while inside of a safe shelter during thunderstorms (cell phones are ok).

Flash-to-Bang

To use the flash-to-bang method, begin counting when sighting a lightning flash. Counting is stopped when the associated bang (thunder) is heard.  Divide this count by five to determine the distance to the lightning flash (in miles).  For example, a flash-to-bang count of thirty seconds equates to a distance of six miles.  Lightning has struck from as far away as 10 miles from the storm center. “If you hear it, clear it; if you see it, flee it.”

Postpone or suspend activity if a thunderstorm appears imminent before or during an activity or contest, (irrespective of whether lightning is seen or thunder heard) until the hazard has passed.  Signs of imminent thunderstorm activity are darkening clouds, high winds, and thunder or lightning activity.

Important info about Lightning

  • There cannot be thunder without lightning
  • Lightning can often strike up to 6 miles away from the base of a thunderstorm
  • Get out of the water and off of the field when a thunderstorm approaches
  • Retreat to a building or car (not a convertible)
  • Crouch low on the balls of your feet and get on an insulated pad (do not lay flat)
  • Get away from metal objects (50 yards)
  • Never stand under a lone tree.  Get in a grove of trees of similar height.
  • Get away from tall objects
  • Get off motorcycles, bicycles, and golf carts.  Put down golf clubs, lacrosse sticks, etc
    • Avoid standing in small isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas
    • Do not walk or huddle together-stay 100 feet apart so that if lightning strikes someone in your group, someone will be able to administer first aid.
    • If your hair stands on end, you hear high-pitched or crackling noises, you see a blue halo around objects, there is electrical activity around you that typically precedes a lightning strike.  Leave the area immediately if you can, or crouch on the ball of your feet and tuck your head down.