Thunder & Lightning Policy
Since lightning is unpredictable, the best defense is a proactive plan in order to improve safety levels and reduce harmful consequences. Collegiate’s Thunder/Lightning Policy follows the 30 Minute Rule – if thunder is heard or lightning is seen, the coach will remove the team from the field and wait out the storm in a safe location. No team will return to the field until 30 minutes after thunder is last heard or lightning is last seen.
Coaches will need to do the following:
- On the first day of practice, explain to the team what measures are taken if severe weather strikes.
- At any playing location, know where the nearest “safe structure” is located in proximity to the area of practice or play. The primary choice for safe shelter should include a sturdy building that has metal plumbing or wiring to ground the structure. In the absence of a “safe structure,” the next best thing is a vehicle with a hard top metal roof and windows up. Do not use sheds, golf carts or convertibles. In any vehicle (car or bus), it is the metal roof and body which absorbs the electrical charge of the lightning and directs the charge to the ground around the vehicle. You should refrain from touching metal in the vehicle to avoid being electrocuted.
- When inclement weather is a possibility, be sure to explain the School’s policy to the officials and opposing coaches as early as possible. When everyone understands the School’s policy upfront, it is much easier and faster to implement safety procedures. As it is not always possible to see lightning while coaching, it is helpful to ask a parent or spectator to help watch for the presence of lightning.
- At the first sound of thunder or sight of lightning, provide instruction for all competitors and spectators to move immediately to the nearest safe building. IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO WAIT FOR AN OFFICIAL TO MAKE THIS DECISION. Warn everyone not to take refuge under or near trees, tall objects, lone objects, bleachers or fences. At home contests, please instruct our opponents to follow this policy. At an away contest, you are responsible for our students. It is especially important to be proactive; ask which buildings will be open during a contest, and alert officials and opposing coaches of our policy.
- Keep track of time. No team should return to the field until 30 minutes after thunder is last heard, or lightning is last seen.
- Resume or cancel activity.
A lightning strike is a very serious, life-threatening injury. A person suffering from a lightning strike may need immediate first aid and/or CPR. The victim does NOT carry an electrical charge, and there is generally no danger to someone touching the victim while tending to them.
THOR GUARD Lightning Prediction System
During the summer of Since 2011, Collegiate School installed has utilized an advanced warning lightning prediction system called Thor Guard on both the Mooreland Campus and the Robins Campus. This system uses a highly sophisticated sensor and computer to measure and analyze the electrostatic field in the atmosphere to predict the probability of a lightning strike within a predetermined area. The School uses the Thor Guard System in addition to following the 30 Minute Rule.
If there is a lightning threat, a 15-second alarm should sound (red alert) and everyone should seek shelter immediately. Once the threat of lightning has dissipated and the air has stabilized, the Thor Guard system should wait 10 minutes and then send an "all clear" text notification to predetermined coaches and staff, at which time the 30-minute rule goes into effect.
Note that you could see lightning and hear thunder in the distance and the alarm may not sound as the threat is too far away. Please follow the 30 Minute Rule if you hear thunder or see lightning.
It could also be a perfectly sunny day and the “ions” in the air could cause the alert to sound, representing a real danger of lightning. When the alarm sounds, everyone should move inside.
Though the system continuously monitors the atmosphere, Thor Guard will only give an audible warning during certain time periods. Thor Guard should only sound alarms after 2:30 p.m. daily (to coincide with after-school activities) Thor Guard will give audile warning from 7:15 am (Mooreland Campus) or 8:00 am(Robins Campus) - sunset Monday through Friday, 8:00 am - sunset on Saturday and 12:00 pm - sunset on Sunday. The sensor should monitor the atmosphere's electrostatic energy as far away as 15 miles and should evaluate the potential for lightning within an area of approximately 2 miles in radius.