Lightning Safety Protocol
In order to ensure the safety of all student athletes, coaches, support personnel and fans, the athletic trainers of LCPS have adopted the following safety protocols in the event of inclement weather. These guidelines are STRICT STANDARDS which MUST be followed to avoid undue catastrophic injury.
In the event that a thunderstorm is in the area the following safety measures must be taken. These are in effect for all outdoor activities including practices, games and scrimmages. The facilities affected include the LCPS outdoor game facilities, city tennis courts, golf courses and the middle and high school facilities where practices and games are held.
- An active thunderstorm with any portion of that cell having clouds directly overhead.
- If lightning is spotted and corresponding thunder is heard coming anywhere from the cell overhead regardless of the distance, the area must be cleared and the appropriate shelter must be sought out.
- If the exact location of the cell or the origin of the lighting strike is unknown, then any strike within a 10 mile radius warrants that the area be cleared and the appropriate shelter must be sought out.
- A safe return can only be made once the system has clearly passed from the area and no lightning strikes within 10 miles have occurred within 30 minutes.
- The ranking adult on site is responsible for the accurate monitoring of the weather and the decision to seek shelter. No student at any time should be placed in a position where they would make this decision.
- The district has provided lightning detectors for the use at the “Field of Dreams” complexes, at each high school and each middle school. For those with Smart Phones, a free application called Weather Bug is available for download at no cost.
- If no lightning detection device is available, the simple rule of “flash to bang” can be utilized. Sound travels at the speed of 754 miles per hours or 1 mile every 5 seconds. When lightning is sighted begin counting until thunder is heard. If the time elapsed is less than 50 seconds the strike was within 10 miles and a safety hazard exists.
- Seeking shelter is an immediate action. Picking up equipment or other nonessential items, meandering or purposeful slow walking or any other unnecessary delay in getting to shelter must be strictly discouraged. Coaches and other personnel are responsible for expediting this process.
- Appropriate shelter that is safe from a lightning strike is anywhere indoors, inside a vehicle or an area that has been designated and certified as a grounded lightning safe structure.
- Underneath: Bleachers, an open shed, tents or canopies or building overhangs are not safe areas and should not be used as shelters.
- Areas to avoid are trees, poles, metal fences and standing water.
Lightning is a very unpredictable event and is quite capable of striking anywhere and at any time throughout an active cell. Failure to follow these protocols could result in catastrophic consequences.