Lightning Can Kill!
Lightning is one of the most consistent causes of weather-related deaths and injury in the U.S. According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, there are approximately 100 lightning-related deaths and over 1000 injuries yearly. Risk is present WHENEVER lightning can be seen or thunder can be heard. As soon as cloud-to-ground lightning is seen or thunder is heard, practice and competition should be suspended immediately.
It is important that schools develop a Lightning Safety Plan. The following guidelines are provided by the NFHS.
- Assign staff to monitor local weather conditions before and during events.
- Develop an evacuation plan, including identification of appropriate nearby shelters.
- Develop criteria for suspension and resumption of play:
- When thunder is heard, or a cloud-to-ground lightning bolt is seen, the thunderstorm is close enough to strike your location with lightning. Suspend play and take shelter immediately.
- Thirty-minute rule. Once play has been suspended, wait at least 30 minutes after the last thunder is heard or flash of lightning is witnessed prior to resuming play.
- Any subsequent thunder or lightning after the beginning of the 30-minute count, reset the clock and another 30-minute count should begin.
- Hold periodic reviews for appropriate personnel.
For additional information on lightning safety, see the "resources" on the right of this page, or visit any of the following websites:
National Lightning Safety Institute
The Weather Channel
The National Weather Service
Lightning and Thunder Guidelines (NFHS 2014)
VHSL SMAC Lightning Best Practices (2013)