BISD Lightning Policy
BISD has three methods which we employ to monitor lightning. We currently contract with UMHB to use a satellite receiver for the ThorGuard Lightning Prediction System. The main computer and transmitter is at the field house of UMHB. It predicts the likelihood of lightning strike within a 8 mile range. A long horn blast and a flashing light on top of the visitors bleachers at Tiger Stadium indicates that the area need to be evacuated immediately. Three short horn bursts and the light going off indicates that the it is now safe to return.
In the event of the ThorGuard malfunction, the coaching staff and athletic training staff utilize WeatherBug via smartphones. This has a component called Spark which also tracks lightning based on the location of the user. It makes it very useful for our coaching/athletic training staff because it goes by current location. When using the WeatherBug, a 10 mile radius is considered unsafe and shelter must be sought.
The third methods would be to use the Flash to Bang method 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. When this number is 30 seconds or less, 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 the flash to bang method or electronic lightning monitor. 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, the responsibility for monitoring lightning with the flash to bang method falls upon the coaching staff.
Monitors at Games During games the athletic trainer will monitor the lightning situation using the flash to bang method or the electronic lightning monitor. When the safety threshold is reached, the athletic trainer will inform the officials that the game should be postponed and evacuation should begin to a safe structure.
An announcement will then be made to the fans advising them of the nearest safe structure.
The UIL defines a “safe structure” as
i. A safe location is any substantial, frequently inhabited building. The building should have four solid walls (not a dug out), electrical and telephone wiring, as well as plumbing, all of which aid in grounding a structure.
ii. The secondary choice for a safer location from the lightning hazard is a fully enclosed vehicle with a metal roof and the windows completely closed. It is important to not touch any part of the metal framework of the vehicle while inside it during ongoing thunderstorms.
iii. It is not safe to shower, bathe, or talk on landline phones while inside of a safe shelter during thunderstorms (cell phones are ok).
Resumption of Activities The UIL guideline recommends athletic activities should not begin until 30 minutes after the last clasp of thunder was heard or the last flash of lightning was seen.
With ThorGuard an all clear horn will be sounded.
With WeatherBug, it is 30 minutes since the last strike within a 10 mile radius.