Effective with the 2009 season, the EJBL Board of Directors voted to adopt the NHIAA (NH Interscholastic Athletic Association) lightning policy.
In short, AFTER THE FIRST OBSERVANCE OF LIGHTNING OR THUNDER, ALL OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES WILL BE SUSPENDED AND ALL PARTICIPANTS WILL RETREAT TO A SAFE LOCATION (BUILDING OR AUTO). ACTIVITIES MAY ONLY RESUME 30 MINUTES AFTER THE LAST OBSERVED LIGHTNING OR THUNDER.
This policy applies to all EJBL outdoor activities, practices and games. For the safety of all our kids, it is the responsibility of everyone (coaches, umpires and parents) to follow this policy. Thank you for your cooperation!
The complete NHIAA policy is stated as follows:
LIGHTNING: Lightning is the most consistent and significant weather hazard that may affect outdoor
athletics. Within the United States, the National Severe Storm Laboratory (NSSL) estimates that 100
fatalities and 400-500 injuries requiring medical treatment occur from lightning strikes every year. The
existence of blue sky and the absence of rain are not protection from lightning. Lightning can, and does, strike as far as 10 miles away from the rain shaft. It does not have to be raining for lightning to strike.
Additionally, thunder always accompanies lightning, even though its audible range can be diminished due
to background noise in the immediate environment, and its distance from the observer.
The following guidelines are recommended:
A.) All athletic staff and game personnel are to monitor threatening weather. Establish a chain of command as to who makes the decision to remove a team or individual from athletic sites or events (athletic/site/event director, game officials/umpires, sports medicine staff?). An emergency plan should include planned instructions for participants as well as spectators.
B.) Be aware of potential thunderstorms that may form during scheduled athletic events or practices. Included here should include National Weather Service – issued (NWS) thunderstorm “watches” and “warnings” as well as signs of thunderstorms developing nearby. A “watch” means conditions are favorable for severe weather to develop in an area; a “warning” means that severe weather has been reported in an area and for everyone to take proper precautions.
C.) Know where the closest “safe structure or location” is to the field or playing area, and know how long it takes to get to that safe structure or location. Safe structure or location is defined as:
a.) Any building normally occupied or frequently used by people, i.e., a building with plumbing and /or electrical wiring that acts to electrically ground the structure. Avoid using shower facilities for safe shelter and do not use the showers or plumbing facilities during a thunderstorm.
b.) In the absence of a sturdy, frequently inhabited building, any vehicle with a hard metal roof (not a convertible or golf cart) and rolled up windows can provide a measure of safety. A vehicle is certainly better than remaining outdoors. It is not the rubber tires that make a vehicle safe shelter, but the hard metal roof which dissipates the lightning strike around the vehicle. DO NOT TOUCH THE SIDES OF THE VEHICLE!
D.) WHEN YOU FIRST HEAR THUNDER OR SEE LIGHTING, SUSPEND ACTIVITIES AND GO TO A SAFE SHELTER OR LOCATION. “IF YOU CAN SEE IT (LIGHTNING), FLEE IT (TAKE SHELTER). IF YOU CAN HEAR IT (THUNDER) CLEAR IT (SUSPEND ACTIVITIES).” WAIT UNTIL 30 MINUTES AFTER THE LAST OBSERVED LIGHTNING OR THUNDER BEFORE RESUMING ACTIVITIES.
E. If no safe structure or location is within a reasonable distance, find a thick grove of small trees surrounded by taller trees or a dry ditch. Assume a crouched position on the ground with only the balls of the feet touching the ground, wrap your arms around your knees and lower your head. Minimize contact with the ground, because lightning current often enters a victim through the ground rather than by a direct overhead strike. MINIMIZE YOUR BODY’S SURFACE AREA, AND MINIMIZE CONTACT WITH THE GROUND! DO NOT LIE FLAT! Stay away from the tallest trees or objects (such as light poles or flag poles), metal objects (such as bleachers or fences), individual trees, standing pools of water, and open fields. Avoid being the highest object in a field. Do not take shelter under a single, tall tree.