Lightning and Thunder Safety
1. IF CLOUD-TO-GROUND LIGHTNING IS SEEN OR THUNDER IS HEARD, THE
STORM IS CLOSE ENOUGH TO POSE A RISK OF A LIGHTNING STRIKE.
SUSPEND PLAY AND TAKE SHELTER IMMEDIATELY.
2. ONCE PLAY HAS BEEN SUSPENDED, WAIT AT LEAST 30 MINUTES FROM THE
LAST SOUND OF THUNDER HEARD OR LIGHTNING WITNESSED BEFORE
RESUMING THE ACTIVITY.
3. ANY SUBSEQUENT THUNDER OR LIGHTNING DURING THE 30 MINUTE
WAITING PERIOD RESETS THE CLOCK, AND A NEW 30 MINUTE WAITING
ANYTIME LIGHTNING CAN BE SEEN OR THUNDER HEARD, RISK IS PRESENT!
1. A documented plan for handling severe weather situations such as lightning should be
2. The persons responsible for monitoring weather activity and determining when to suspend
practice or competition should be identified.
∗ Ideally this person will NOT be a coach or an official involved in the game or practice,
as they may to too involved with their other duties to monitor the weather.
3. There are many different methods of monitoring the weather. Weather radios are
available through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and
the National Weather Service. The Weather Channel can also provide good information
on storm movement and strength. Each school will need to determine their most effective
means of monitoring the weather.
4. All personnel, athletes, and spectators should be clearly informed in advance of
available safe structures or shelters in the event of severe weather.
5. The most ideal safe structure is a fully enclosed building with plumbing, electrical
wiring, and telephone service which all aid in grounding the structure.
6. Fully enclosed automobiles with metal roofs, including school buses, provide adequate
shelter as well.
7. Avoid using bathrooms as shelter areas as the plumbing pipelines provide a path for the
lightning to enter the structure. Also avoid standing near utilities, corded telephones, or
headsets during a thunderstorm.
8. If communication is necessary during the storm, cellular and cordless phones are
considered reasonably safe.
National Federation of State High School Associations. Guidelines for Lightning Safety. Sports Medicine Handbook, 3rd Edition.
- Health & Safety