(Viewable in the Student-Athlete/Parent Handbook)
Protocol to Evacuate Outdoor Locations: At the sight of a lightning flash, all outdoor activities must cease, and all students, coaches, administrators and any other by-standers should take shelter inside of a building. There is a 30 minute, flash-free period prior to return to play outdoors. Example: At the sight of a lightning flash, the Athletic Trainer will start a 30-minute running clock. Every new flash restarts the clock. When the 30-minute timer runs out, return to outdoor activities may commence.
Two loud, long whistle blows = Clear all fields, tennis courts, golf facility, and any other outdoor location.
One loud, long whistle blow = It is safe to return to outdoor locations.
Thunder Bolt: This handheld device detects and tracks the motion of storm cells by detecting the lightning activity within the cell. We have one device on campus, located in the health and wellness center with the athletic trainer. This device it set to alarm when electrical activity is 5.5 miles/9km away. When the alarm sounds, the Athletic Trainer on duty will blow the whistle accordingly.
Secondary Protocol: Used when practicing off campus or when Thunder Bolt detection device is not available.
Flash-to Bang-Method: The National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) recommend the use of the flash to bang ratio to help determine when cover should be taken when no lightning detector is available. This method requires no equipment and is an easy way to determine the distance from the last lighting strike. To use the flash-to-bang method, begin counting on the lightning flash, and stop counting when the associated thunder is heard. Divide this number (in seconds) by 5 to determine the distance (in miles) to the lightning flash. For example, if the time in seconds between the lightning being spotted and the thunder being hear is equal to 30, divide that by 5, and you get 6 (30/5=6). Therefore, that lightning flash was approximately 6 miles away from the observer. While lightning has been recorded to strike at 10 miles, the rule of thumb used for safety is a 6 mile/9.6km distance. Thus, seeking shelter is recommended if lightning is 6 miles/9.6 km away or less.
Examples of safe and unsafe locations:
1. Safe Locations:
a. A building normally occupied by people, with wiring and plumbing that has been grounded.
b. If buildings are not available, then certain other spaces are considered safe: vehicles, including school buses, with a hard metal roof (not convertibles or golf carts) with the windows shut. Individuals should not touch the metal framework of the vehicle as well as the steering wheel, ignition keys, and/or radio.
2. Unsafe Locations:
a. The showers or plumbing of a building, as well as electrical appliances in a building during a thunderstorm should be avoided.
b. Small covered shelters outside, such as dugouts, bleachers, rain shelters, golf shelters, picnic shelters.
i. Areas connected to or near light poles, towers and fences
ii. Any location which is the highest point in the area