SISD Lightning Policy

Sharyland High School

Lightning and Inclement Weather Protocol

The decision to suspend a game or practice will be based on the following information systems:

1.     MxVision Weather Sentry® – MxVision WeatherSentry’s® is real-time lightning data through cell phone application and any computer desktop station.  This technology makes for safer events with fewer interruptions. Through this technology we are able to monitor real-time lightning as it approaches our area whether playing at home or away.  When lightning strikes within our advisory period of 20 miles we are able to track and follow any incoming storm helping us to provide a higher level of protection for fans, players, and employees. An all-clear notification is set up to allow us to know when danger has passed, and includes a countdown to show us when that notification will likely occur.

2.     “Flash to Bang” Method – This method of measuring lightning distance requires no equipment and is easy to determine the approximate distance from the last lightning strike.  Thunder always accompanies lightning, even though its audible range can be diminished due to background noise in the immediate environment, humidity, and its distance from the observer. This method will be employed if for some reason our MxVision Weather Sentry technology is not available.

·         To use the “flash to bang” method, count the seconds from the time the lightning is sighted (“flash”) to when the clap of thunder (“bang”) is heard. 

·         A count of “40” seconds indicates that lightning is within 8 miles and all students/personnel should vacate the field/premises to their designated areas.

Suspension of Games, Practices, or Events

Sharyland ISD follows an 8-12 mile rule as recently recommended by the NCAA (3/2018).  If lightning has occurred within a 12 mile radius AND it is inevitable that lightning may strike within 8 miles, then it is the choice of the head coach, sponsor, or administrator to vacate the field/premises earlier rather than later when the storm is upon us.  This person will be advised by the athletic trainer.  When lightning has struck within a 8 mile radius all participants, fans, and personnel should be off of the field/premises. 

When a “flash to bang” count approaches 40 seconds, acute awareness and monitoring of the storm is necessary, and athletic/outdoor events may need to be delayed and/or possibly terminated.  As a minimum, the NCAA and most lightning experts strongly recommend by the time a spotter obtains a “flash to bang” count of 40 seconds, all individuals should have left the athletic site and reached safe shelter.   The existence of a blue sky and the absence of rain are not protection from lightning, and it does not have to be raining for lightning to strike.

RETURN TO ACTIVITY

Once a game or practice has been suspended, the storm will continue to be monitored by athletic training, coaching and administrator personnel.  No contest or practice should be resumed until all lightning in the area has ceased for 30 consecutive minutes. This 30 minute clock is “reset” for every additional lightning strike within a 8 mile radius.  The area is defined by the above suspension policy.  This is to prevent any casualties by a back flash.  A lightning strike can come out the back of a passing cloud or storm.

DECISION MAKING

The decision to suspend a game or practice will be made by the following individuals:

1.     Practice – The head coach/head sponsor or administrator will have the responsibility of making the final decision.  Whenever possible, the staff athletic trainer will advise as to the danger of lightning and severe weather.

2.     Prior to a contest or event – The host head coach/sponsor and/or game/event administrator will have the responsibility of making the final decision.  Whenever possible, the staff athletic trainer will advise as to the danger of lightning and severe weather.

3.     During a contest or event – The head game official and game/event administrator will have the responsibility of making the final decision regarding athletic contest. Whenever possible, the staff athletic trainer will advise as to the danger of lightning and severe weather.

With the information in this policy – all coaches, administrators, and officials can make an informed and intelligent decision regarding the risk of lightning strike or severe weather.  Any individual, student-athlete or staff who feels that he or she is in danger of lightning or severe weather has the right to leave the field and seek safe shelter.

RECEIVING WEATHER ALERTS

Any SISD administrators, band directors, or sponsors may email technology with their name, cell phone number, and cell phone service provider to be added to the MxVision WeatherSentry® text message alerts. All SISD athletic coaches will receive weather alert text messages. Coaches who do not receive weather alerts can contact their campus athletic trainer to be added to the weather alert system.

SAFE SHELTER

A “safe shelter” is defined by any building normally occupied or frequently used by people or any building with 4 walls.  Shacks, rain shelters, tents, dugouts or metal sheds are not considered safe lightning shelters.

In the absence of a sturdy, frequently inhabited building, any vehicle with a hard metal roof (not a convertible car or golf cart), with the windows rolled up, presents a measure of safety.  Taking shelter in a proper vehicle is certainly better than remaining outdoors.  It is not the rubber tires that make the vehicle safe, but the hard metal shell (roof) that transfers the lightning current around the occupant, rather than through the occupant.

SAFE SHELTER SITES

High Schools/Junior High Schools

·         Nearest School Building

·         Field House

·         Gym

·         Locker Room

·         Cafeteria

Designated Safe Shelters Sharyland ISD

Designated safe shelters sites for specific sports venues should be outlined for each high school and junior high. The first choice in finding a safe shelter for athletes during a lightning storm is the nearest accessible building with 4 walls and a roof.   The second choice is a school bus or any other metal roofed vehicle. 

Safe shelter locations will depend on each sport’s individual circumstance (ie. practice/competition location when lightning strikes, on/off campus). Ultimately, it will be the coach’s decision on where to seek safe shelter in a lightning storm. Coaches should use good judgment and follow the lightning guidelines outlined in this policy when making decisions on where to seek safe shelter. Consult the athletic trainer(s) at your respective campus for more information on safe shelter sites.

Sharyland High School Sites

The following locations are considered preferential safe shelter sites only.  They may or may not be the actual safe shelter used depending on each sport’s individual circumstance (ie. practice location when lightning strikes, on campus/off campus sites).  Ultimately, it will be left to the team’s coach to decide where to seek safe shelter in a lightning storm. 

Baseball :   Baseball Locker Room

Band (Rev’s Acres) :  AEP Building or Band Hall

Band (Stadium)Cafeteria or Band Hall

Cross Country :  Nearest building, Locker Room, Fieldhouse

Cheerleading :  Annex Gym, Cafeteria, Track Storage Bldg.

Dance :Annex Gym, Cafeteria, Track Storage

Football (Freshmen) :  Annex Gym or Freshmen Fieldhouse

Football (Varsity/JV) :  Varsity Fieldhouse

Golf  :   Clubhouse or nearest building

JROTC :  JROTC Complex, Cafeteria, Fieldhouse

Powerlifting :  Varsity Fieldhouse

Soccer (Rev’s Acres) :  AEP building or Girl’s Soccer Locker room

Soccer (Practice Field/Stadium Field) :  Annex Gym/Varsity Fieldhouse

Softball Softball Locker Room

Swimming :   Nearest Building (Out of Pool)

Track :  Varsity Fieldhouse/Locker Rooms

Tennis :  Locker room

Wrestling :  Castleman Gym, Varsity Fieldhouse

(Last Modified on March 28th, 2018)