Lightning Safety Awareness Week, Day 3: Sports Safety
This is the third in a series of five public information statements to be issued by NOAA and the National Weather Service Office in Caribou on lightning and lightning safety during Lightning Safety Awareness Week in Maine.
LIGHTNING SAFETY AND SPORTS ACTIVITIES
Whether you're out kicking a ball around with a friend, or at a major sports event, you should be prepared to get to a safe place in case a thunderstorm threatens.
Since 2006, sports activities, particularly golf, soccer, running, baseball, and football, contributed to 30 lightning deaths in the United States. In many cases, those involved in the activities failed to realize the developing danger.
For anyone outside, whether you're involved in sports or some other activity, keep an eye on the sky and head to safety at the first sign of a developing or approaching storm. If you hear thunder, you're already in danger and should head inside a substantial building or hard-topped vehicle immediately.
Officials in charge of organized sports should have a lightning safety plan, and those involved in the sport and their parents should understand the plan and know what to do.
The plan should include where the participants and spectators go for safety, when the event should be stopped, when the event should be resumed, and who is in charge of making weather-related safety decisions.
It's also important to designate a person to monitor conditions and to keep those in charge informed of weather-related threats.
The plan should also account for the time required to get everyone to safety.
For stadiums and larger venues, the National Weather Service has toolkits which provide templates to help design a safety plan.
Whether you're out for a run, watching your child's game, or attending a major sports event, remember that there's no safe place outside in a thunderstorm.
When thunder roars, go indoors!
Question of the day...
Are there more golfers killed by lightning than by any other activity?
While golfing is very dangerous when a thunderstorm is in the area, during the past ten years, soccer has contributed to more sports-related lightning fatalities than golf. During that time, golf led to 8 fatalities. This compares with 12 for soccer, 5 for running, 3 for baseball, and 1 for football. In comparison, fishing led to 33 lightning deaths, more than all sports combined.
For additional information about lightning or lightning safety, visit NOAA's Lightning Safety Awareness web site.