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Thunder and Lightning Policy

FC Berna Thunder & Lightning Policy

  • Practices must be suspended IMMEDIATELY upon either seeing lightning or hearing thunder for a minimum of 30 minutes. Please see 30/30 rule below. NO EXCEPTIONS.
  • Players and coaches can’t return to practicing until lightning has not been seen and no thunder has been heard for 30 minutes after last seeing lightning or hearing thunder.
  • Seek safe shelter immediately. Go inside your car or a building.
  • Lightning is the most dangerous and frequently encountered weather hazard that physically active people face each year. There are approximately 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in the United States each year, resulting in nearly 100 deaths and an additional 500 injuries. Lightning casualties during sports and recreational activities have risen alarmingly.

If thunderstorms develop, count the seconds between the flash of lightning and the bang of the thunder to estimate the distance between you and the lightning strike. Because sound travels at approximately 1 mile in 5 seconds, you can determine how far away the lightning is by using this "flash-to-bang" method. It is recommended that you seek shelter if the time between the lightning flash and the rumble of thunder is 30 seconds or less (6 miles). Once inside shelter, you should not resume activities until 30 minutes after the last audible thunder. This is known as the 30/30 Lightning Rule.
Keep in mind that although uncommon, lightning has been reported to strike up to 10 miles or more from where it is raining. Blue skies overhead do not guarantee protection from lightning strikes. Lightning can strike far from where it is raining.

Lightning Safety Tips

  • Check the forecast and watch the sky. Darkening skies, flashes of lightning, or increasing wind may indicate an approaching storm.
  • Use the 30/30 Lightning Rule above and seek shelter when the time is less than 30 seconds.
  • Sturdy buildings are the safest place to be during lightning storms. Avoid sheds, picnic shelters, baseball dugouts, and bleachers.
  • Staying in a car with windows closed also offers some protection.
  • Avoid isolated trees or other tall objects. It's better to seek shelter under a thick growth of relatively small trees.
  • Don't wait for rain to seek shelter.
  • Get out of the water. Water is a great conductor of electricity.
  • Avoid any metal objects such as bicycles and golf clubs, fishing rods, tennis rackets or tools.
  • Spread out and do not stay in a group.
  • Never lie flat on the ground during a lightning storm.
  • If on a bicycle and lightning is within 5 miles, STOP riding, get off of your bicycle, find a ditch or other low spot and sit down.
  • As a last resort, assume the lightning-safe position. If you are caught in a lightning storm and if you feel your hair stand on end, your skin tingle, or you hear crackling noises, crouch on the ground with your weight on the balls of the feet, your feet together, your head lowered and ears covered. Some experts recommend placing your hands on your forehead and your elbows on your knees to create a path for lightning to travel to the ground through your extremities rather than through your core (heart). 

Approved by the Board of Trustees of FC Berna on May 6, 2018

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