Each year, about 400 children and adults in the U.S. are struck by lightning while working outside, at sports events, on the beach, mountain climbing, mowing the lawn or during other outdoor activities. About 80 people are killed and several hundred more are left to cope with permanent disabilities. Many of these tragedies can be avoided. Finishing the game, getting a tan, or completing a work shift aren’t worth death or crippling injury.
Colonial SC Thunder & Lightning policy
- For Travel league games, the Referee is responsible for the game and the safety of the participants and spectators. The Referee at their sole discretion will determine if the game conditions are unsafe, and suspend or call the game.
- For all other activities, the Team Coach, Manager, Colonial SC Administrator or Colonial SC Board Member is responsible for the safety of the participants and spectators.
- If at any time a parent believes that their child is not safe, they should advise the Coach of their concern, and move their child to a safe location.
- Following is the proper procedure in dealing with events interrupted by thunder and/or lightning:
- Colonial SC coaches (or Travel Referees) should inform participants and spectators when a thunderstorm watch is in effect and that play will be suspended at the first sound of thunder. All participants and attendees at Colonial SC activities should identify the closest ‘safe shelter’ in advance of any game.
- All Colonial SC activities are to be suspended IMMEDIATELY at the first sound of THUNDER, and participants should immediately seek safe shelter.
- For all activities, the Coach’s whistle and verbal command will be the method by which the activity is suspended and the Coach’s judgment shall not be questioned.
- Once suspended for thunder and/or lightning, activities will not be resumed until a minimum of 30 minutes has passed from the last sound of THUNDER.
- Postpone activities promptly. Don’t wait for rain. Many people take shelter from the rain, but most people struck by lightning are not in the rain! Go quickly inside a completely enclosed building, not a carport, open garage or covered patio. If no enclosed building is convenient, get inside a hard-topped all-metal vehicle. A cave is a good option outside but move as far as possible from the cave entrance.
- Be the lowest point. Lightning hits the tallest object. In the mountains if you are above tree line, you ARE the highest object around. Quickly get below tree line and get into a grove of small trees. Don’t be the second tallest object during a lightning storm! Crouch down if you are in an exposed area.
- Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of lightning, or increasing wind, which may be signs of an approaching thunderstorm.
- Listen for the sound of thunder. If you can hear thunder, go to a safe shelter immediately.
- If you see or hear a thunderstorm coming or your hair stands on end, immediately suspend your game or practice and instruct everyone to go inside a sturdy building or car. Sturdy buildings are the safest place to be. Avoid sheds, picnic shelters, baseball dugouts, and bleachers. If no sturdy building is nearby, a hard-top vehicle with windows closed will offer some protection. The steel frame of the vehicle provides some protection if you are not touching metal.
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio. Coaches and other leaders should listen for a tone-alert feature during practice sessions and games.
- If you can’t get to a shelter, stay away from trees. If there is no shelter, crouch in the open, keeping twice as far away from a tree as it is tall.
- Avoid leaning against vehicles. Get off bicycles and motorcycles.
- Get out of the water. It’s a great conductor of electricity. Stay off the beach and out of small boats or canoes. If caught in a boat, crouch down in the center of the boat away from metal hardware. Swimming, wading, snorkeling and scuba diving are NOT safe. Lightning can strike the water and travel some distance beneath and away from its point of contact. Don’t stand in puddles of water, even if wearing rubber boots.
- Avoid metal! Drop metal backpacks, stay away from clothes lines, fences, exposed sheds and electrically conductive elevated objects. Don’t hold on to metal items such golf clubs, fishing rods, tennis rackets or tools. Large metal objects can conduct lightning. Small metal objects can cause burns.
- Move away from a group of people. Stay several yards away from other people. Don’t share a bleacher bench or huddle in a group.
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