Lightning Safety Policy
The following policy is implemented to insure the safety of students, staff, and the public during times of Lightning. It applies to all out-of-doors district activities including but not limited to athletics, field trips, band practices/events, etc.
MSL Lightning Guidelines
All Mid-Suburban schools employ the Thor Guard lightning prediction and warning system as an aid in predicting severe weather situations. Because of this, it is important that all MSL school personnel understand the Thor Guard warning system and take appropriate precautions when the system indicates impending severe weather.
1. When the Thor Guard System Activates:
a. The system will sound a warning horn of one-15 second blast when there is a threat of lightning in the vicinity.
b. In addition to the horn blast, a strobe light mounted on the unit will continue to flash until the all-clear signal has sounded.
c. When either of these warnings (15 second blast or flashing strobe) occur, all personnel (players, coaches, spectators and officials) must evaluate the field and seek safe shelter.
d The all-clear signal is three 5-second blasts with 3-second intervals in between. The strobe light will also turn off at this time.
e Contests may not resume until the all-clear has sounded and the strobe light has shut off.
2. If there is lightning, but the Thor Guard system does not activate - use the "30-30 Rule":
a. Thirty (30) second flash-to-bang - count the number of seconds from the time you see the lightning (flash) until you hear the thunder (bang). If this number is 30 or less, all personnel must evacuate the field and seek safe shelter.
b. Once you have evacuated the field, there should be a 30 minute wait from the last lightning flash or thunderclap until resuming play.
3. Contest officials may use their discretion:
a. Even if the Thor Guard does not activate and there are more than 30 seconds from flash-to-bang, once play has begun, the contest official has the authority to suspend play based upon his/her determination of the safety of the participants.
b. In such situations, school officials should met with the game officials to determine the length of the suspension and resumption of the contest.
4. Safe Shelter:
a. A safe location is a frequently inhabited building such as the school or out building.
b. A secondary choice is a fully enclosed vehicle with a metal roof such as a bus or car.
c. If no safe structure or vehicle is available, find a thick grove of small trees surrounded by larger trees or a dry ditch. Assume a crouch position on the balls of your feet, minimizing contact with the ground.
d. Do not take refuge under bleachers or near fences, light poles, or individual trees.
5. Sample Announcement for Severe Weather:
"Ladies and Gentlemen: We are requesting your assistance in seeking safe shelter due to current weather conditions. Players are to meet with their coaches inside the building. We are asking the fans not to remain on, under or near the bleachers, light poles, or fences. You are encouraged to move inside the building or to your cars. When it is safe to continue, an announcement will be made. The teams will warm up and play will then continue. Thank you for your cooperation."
Approved by the APSA: 1/26/07