Lightning and Severe Weather Protection Plan Lightning Policy Because thunderstorms and lightning are a dangerous and rapidly changing weather phenomenon that puts all athletes, spectators, support staff, and officials at risk, the Traid Youth Lacrosse Association has worked with Certified Athletic Trainers’ to developed a Lightning and Severe Weather detection system to help prevent serious injury from such an occurrence. This plan is considered the best practice actions when making decisions regarding continued play, cessation of play, or return to play regarding everyone’s safety. The SkyScan Lightning Detector The SkyScan is a hand held electronic device that is able to detect the presence of lightning, thunderstorm and severe weather activity occurring within 40 miles of Smith Turf Fields. Characteristically these storms usually approach at a steady pace. They can be tracked on computer-assisted radar and smart phones but it is difficult to determine the potential danger in the storm from the radar screen. By using the SkyScan allows us to monitor the storm as it approaches and track the lightning strikes as they occur. Lightning is measured in a mileage range by the SkyScan. Once it has been determined that lightning is within 3-8 miles of this venue, the athletic training staff will make the recommendation that all activity be suspended. This recommendation is relayed to the tournament director and head official. Flash-Bang Method The Flash-Bang Method has been used for many years. However, many of us were taught incorrectly. Remember when we counted one, one thousand, etc and said for every second the lightning is one mile away? Well, we were off just a little. Actually, for every second that you count, the lightning is 1/5 of a mile away!!! That’s right. That means that when you count one, one thousand . . . five, one thousand the lightning is 1 mile away, not five. We do use the Flash-Bang method in conjunction with the GALD. But, we now know how to use it correctly. Teach everyone you know the new method. It could save a life one day. 1. Watch for the flash of lightning. 2. Begin to count (one, one thousand, two, one thousand, etc…) 3. Stop counting when you hear the bang of thunder. 4. Take this number and divide by 5. This will give you an approximation of how far away the lighting is (5 sec. = 1 mile). Evacuation of the Venue: If it is announced that the activity is suspended, all athletes, officials, support staff, and spectators are to evacuate to the designated shelter or to your vehicle. If in the event that tornados are expected or a watch is in the area convening to the nearest secured building or shelter will be recommended. If you are unable to reach the shelter, seek a flat area or a ditch without water, crouch down wrapping your arms around your knees, lower your head and wait for the storm to pass. DO NOT choose an open area where you will be the highest object. DO NOT seek shelter under a tree. Many lightning victims are struck by lightning as a result of the lightning hitting the tree, traveling down the tree trunk, and, in turn, striking the individual. Because metal conducts electricity, athletes who are unable to reach the shelter should do the following: drop their equipment, take off their shoes, seek a flat area, a ditch without water, and crouch down wrapping their arms around their knees, lower their head, and wait for the storm to pass. In most cases, the best place to be is inside a structure with 4 walls and a roof. If this is not available, a vehicle is adequate shelter. However, vehicles are subject to lightning strikes. It is recommended that you leave the area in your vehicle to ensure maximum safety. Remember that dugouts, golf carts, tents with metal poles, metal bleachers and open over hangs (concession stands, rain shelters, etc) are NOT adequate protection from lightning. Other Lightning Safety Tips 1. There should be NO contact with metal objects. 2. Single trees and standing in a group should be AVOIDED. 3. If you are unable to seek refuge in the shelter, you may seek refuge in a hard- topped vehicle. Rubber tires do not protect from lightning, but the hard top roof dissipates the lightning around the vehicle. 4. DO NOT lie flat on the ground. Crouch to create the smallest possible profile. 5. If in a forest, seek shelter in a low area under a thick grove of small trees. 6. Persons who have been struck by lightning DO NOT carry an electric charge. Therefore, you CAN provide emergency care. CPR is most often required. Move the victim to a safe location, if possible, and call for emergency medical attention. To learn more about lightning and safety in sever weather, log onto The National Athletic Trainers Association Website at www.nata.org Then search for lightning and you will be connected to many resources.