Orange County Public Schools use WeatherSentry to monitor current weather conditions and forecasts for the Timber Creek community. All WHS coaches, administrators, and trainers that coach an outdoor sport receive text messages on future and current weather conditions. If a lightning strike occurs within 8 miles of the school, all out outdoor activities are suspended until further notice.
Flash to Bang method can also be used to monitor lightning for evacuation of the playing field for a safer environment. With the “Flash to Bang” method, the seconds are counted from the time a flash of lightning is seen until a clap of thunder is heard. The number is then divided by 5 to give you the approximate distance in miles the lightning has struck. When the number counted is 40 seconds or less (40/5=8 miles), evacuation of the field should be under way. Lightning awareness should begin with the first flash of lightning seen or thunder clap heard. Whenever possible the athletic staff will monitor for National Weather Service storm “warning” and “watches” in the area. A “watch” means conditions are favorable for a severe weather. A “warning” means that severe weather has been reported in an area and everyone should take proper precautions.
During practices, the athletic trainers will monitor the lightning situation using Weathersentry along with flash to bang method. When the safety threshold is reached, the AT’s will inform the coaching staff. It is then the coaching staff’s responsibility to begin evacuation of the team to a safe structure.
If AT’s are not covering a practice or event, the responsibility for monitoring lightning with WeatherSentry and flash to the bang method falls upon the coaching staff.
Monitors at Games During games, the athletic trainer will monitor the lightning situation using WeatherSentry along with the flash to bang method. When the safety threshold is reached, the athletic trainer will inform the officials that the game should be suspended and evacuation should begin to a safe structure.
An announcement will then be made to the fans advising them of the nearest safe structure.
Per National Lightning Safety Institute
UNSAFE LIGHTNING SHELTER AREAS include all outdoor metal objects like flag poles, fences and gates, high mast light poles, metal bleachers, golf cars, machinery, etc. AVOID trees. AVOID water. AVOID open fields. AVOID the high ground.
Lightning’s distance from you is easy to calculate: if you hear thunder, it and the associated lightning are within auditory range…about 6-8 miles away. The distance from Strike A to Strike B also can be 6-8 miles. Ask yourself why you should NOT go to shelter immediately. Of course, different distances to shelter will determine different times to suspend activities. A good lightning safety motto is: “If you can see it (lightning) flee it; if you can hear it (thunder), clear it.”
If you feel your hair standing on end, and/or hear “crackling noises” – you are in lightning’s electric field. If caught outside during close-in lightning, immediately remove metal objects (including baseball cap), place your feet together, duck your head, and crouch down low in baseball catcher’s stance with hands on knees.
Guidelines recommend a minimum of 30 minutes from the last observed lightning or thunder before resuming activities.
People who have been struck by lightning do not carry an electrical charge and are safe to handle. Apply first aid immediately if you are qualified to do so. Get emergency help promptly.
“If you can see it, flee it; if you can hear it, clear it.”
Check out the lightning strike that happened at one of our schools in Orange County. This occurred without any warning. Please use common sense. The student athletes and community’s safety is our priority.