Weather Practices and Outdoor Guidelines
Purpose: This policy is concerning lightning safety for outdoor sporting events, guidelines for the use of the flash to bang method, software programs, and evacuation procedures applying to both local and district events.
Statement Policy: This policy is regarding lightning safety to be endorsed by the licensed athletic trainer, athletic director, principal, superintendent, and school board.
Components of an Emergency Action Plan or Policy for Lightning Safety:
1. The policy establishes a specific chain of command that identifies the person who has the authority to remove participants from athletic venues or activities.
2. The policy establishes an appointed weather watcher who actively looks for signs of developing local thunderstorms, high winds, darkening clouds, and any lightning or thunder.
3. The policy establishes that monitoring of the local forecast will be done through the use of weather radio, television, and the Internet. Our gold standard for this plan will be the use of the Schneider Weather System.
4. The policy establishes the definition and listing of safe structures or locations to evacuate to in the event of lightning. The lightning safe policy identifies the safe structure or location specific to each venue.
5. The policy establishes a complete description for the criteria for both the suspension and resumption of athletic activities, games, or matches.
LIGHTNING SAFETY POLICY: FOR PRACTICES AND GAMES
1. In the event that inclement weather is observed, the athletic trainer on duty will notify the affected coaches of that sport. If the weather becomes threatening, the coaches will be notified by the athletic trainer to evacuate the fields.
2. In the event that inclement weather is observed during a game, the athletic trainer will notify the head coach, official, and if possible the visiting teams’ athletic trainer.
3. The athletic trainer on duty will observe the weather through visual observation, monitor radar and media sites, along with lightning detection equipment. In the event that an athletic trainer in not present, this duty becomes that of the head coach.
4. The definition of a safe structure is any fully enclosed, substantial building. Ideally, the building should have plumbing, electrical wiring and telephone service. Safe structures would be the weight room / turf room with the doors closed, the gyms, the cafeteria, field house, and gymnastics gym.
The Schneider System will send out warnings via text messages or the internet app that lightning has occurred within eight miles and to seek shelter. All participants must be moved into a secured shelter.
The 30-30 Rule
Criteria for suspension of activities: By the time the flash to bang count approaches 30 seconds, all individuals should already be inside a safe shelter.
Criteria for resumption of activities: Wait at least 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder or observation of lightning before leaving the safe shelter to resume activities.
3-8 Mile Rule
Criteria for suspension of activities: When the detector indicates at least two lightning strikes at a range of 3-8 miles all individuals should evacuate to a safe shelter.
Criteria for resumption of activities: Wait at least 30 minutes after the last indication of lightning in the 3-8 mile range before leaving the safe shelter to resume activities.
30 Minute Rule
The thirty-minute rule can be explained in another way. A typical thunderstorm moves at the rate of approximately 25 miles per hour. Experts believe that 30 minutes allows the thunderstorm to be about 10-12 miles from the area, minimizing the probability of a nearby and therefore dangerous, lightning strike. Blue sky in the local area or a lack of rainfall is not adequate reason to breach the 30-minute return to play rule. Lightning can strike far from where it is raining, even when the clouds begin to clear and show evidence of blue sky. This situation is often referred to as the “bolt out the blue.” Each time lightning is observed or heard the 30-minute clock should be reset.
The definition of a safe structure is any fully enclosed, substantial building. Ideally, the building would have plumbing, electrical wiring and telephone service. Safe structures would be the weight room, turf room with the door closed, the gymnasiums, cafeterias, and fieldhouse, Shelters that would not be considered safe would be baseball/softball dugouts, under football stands, and any other structure that does not meet the above definition of a safe structure.
COMMON SENSE RULE
IF YOU SEE IT, FLEE IT
Elementary Weather Guidelines
Cold weather guidelines: Please make sure your students are dressed for cold weather. This includes boots, hats, gloves and a warm coat. There will not be outdoor recess when:
- The temperature is 35 degrees or below.
- The wind chill is 35 degrees or below.
- There is rainfall or mud.
Hot weather guidelines: Do not allow outside activity on Heat Ozone alert of orange or red, Smog Alert or on days when the temperatures are at 95 degrees F or greater. When the temperature is from 90-94 degrees F outside activity should not exceed 15 minutes. Best practice for students with health issues or special needs kids is to be out only 10 minutes if heat is an issue for the child.