Lightening is the MOST UNDERRATED Weather Threat. As of 2001, it has killed more people that hurricanes & tornadoes combined....
WE HAVE ALL BEEN OUTDOORS AT SOME EVENT, AND HEARD THUNDER AND SEEN LIGHTNING OFF IN THE DISTANCE. WE ALL HOPE THAT IT WILL AVOID WHERE WE ARE AT, BUT IF WE TRULY KNEW THE THREAT OF LIGHTNING WE WOULD AVOID IT AS IF OUR LIVES DEPENDED ON IT.
Lightening Strike During a Men's Soccer Match: Recently in northern part of Houston, Texas during a soccer game two adult men were killed and a third injured after lightning struck a tree under which they had been seeking shelter from the rain during a soccer match according to law enforcement. A men's league soccer club game was being played when it began to rain around 12:10 pm. A group of players took shelter under a tree. Lighting struck the tree, killing one man at the scene according to Deputy Sheriff Thomas Gilliland. Two other men were transported by ambulance to a hospital. One was pronounced dead on arrival and the other was in stable condition, according to police. There were more people who took refuge under the trees during the storm (which is a dangerous mistake), but fortunately weren't injured. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), nine people have been killed in eight states so far this year due to lightning.
Here is a great resource for Principals, Athletic Directors, Coaches, Teachers, Athletes, and Parents to review:
Safer Design for Safer Play with the threat of Lightning (Check this website out)
Points for Consideration:
- As parents, teachers, coaches, and spectators; what are the safety guidelines when it comes to thunder and lightning? (Check out the above website)
- How often do educational or athletic leaders take a look at inclement weather, and determine a bad weather decision point to cancel or reschedule an event?
- Lightning during an outdoor school event (graduation, sports game, gym class or even a school trip) can lead to a calamity, it the right decisions are not made in a timely fashion. Hundreds of people sitting outside in metal bleachers...
- If an event is ongoing and bad weather (thunder & lightening in the distance) occurs, there is a tendency to try and "gut it out" in the hopes it will "blow over" so we can finish the event.
- What is more of a distraction? Stopping an event and transitioning it indoors, if possible OR gambling with the safety of everyone and risking their lives?
- Mass Casualty, Loss of Life, Investigations, Law Suits, Memorial Services....
- While weather is often predictable, it is not always accurate, but the consequences of disregarding lightning can be fatal.
- A lightening strike during a large event can cause a mass casualty event with numerous people having to be resuscitated often at the same time. Do you have a mass casualty plan other than calling 911?
Our goal is educating ourselves to prevent a hazardous incident from occurring. A key element to that is preparation by learning as much as possible about the threat of lightning in the first place, check out the above website.