Lightning Safety / Severe Weather Policy:
At Belle River Minor Soccer we LOVE soccer, but we are certainly not willing to compromise the safety of players, spectators, and volunteers when inclement weather strikes. For this reason we have implemented strict standards when it comes to severe weather. Our goal is to ensure undo risks are avoided during games, practice, and field maintenance times. Under the guidance of the Ontario Soccer Association (OSA) we have developed the following rules which cover lightning strikes and storms. Please take the time to read our position on foul weather.
It is the policy of Belle River Minor Soccer to cancel or postpone play during inclement weather. When this happens you may receive notification in one of the following ways:
- Referees on the field (during game)
- Air Horns (during game)
- Website and/or email (in advance of game)
Everyone should then go to their cars or a place of safety with a sense of urgency. If you have not yet arrived at the field, notification will also be sent via phone, e-mail or text to your coach who then is responsible to notify you.
Re-Entry on the Fields: A board member or coach will inform you when everything is “all clear,” and you may then return to the field.
Communication to teams: Belle River Minor Soccer will use one or all below ways to communicate to all teams and parents:
- Email or text message
- Phone Call
- Website update
Rain Delays: If a game is a rained out, rest assured it will be rescheduled. The new date and time can be viewed at our rain-out game make-up schedule posted near the end of the season.
Lightning 30/30 RULE:
When you see lightning, count the time until you hear thunder. If this time is thirty (30) seconds or less, seek proper shelter. Wait thirty (30) minutes or more after hearing the last thunder before leaving the shelter. If you can not see the lightning, just hearing the thunder is a good back up rule.
Please note the following recommendations from Environment Canada:
The existence of blue sky and absence of rain are not protection from lightning. Lightning can and does strike as far as ten (10) miles away from the rain shaft. It does not have to be raining for lightning to strike. Many lightning casualties occur in the beginning, as the storm approaches, because many people ignore initial precursors of high winds, some rainfall and cloud cover. Generally, the lightning threat diminishes with time after the last sound of thunder, but may persist for more than thirty (30) minutes. Lightning can strike ahead of the parent cloud – take action even if the thunderstorm is not overhead.
Be aware of how close lightning is occurring. The flash-to-bang method is the easiest and most convenient way to estimate how far away lightning is occurring. 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.
Lightning awareness should be increased with the first flash of lightning or the first clap of thunder, no matter how far away. This activity must be treated as a wake-up call to all. The most important aspect to monitor is how far away the lightning is occurring, and how fast the storm is approaching, relative to the distance of a safe shelter.
Recognize that personal observation of lightning may not be sufficient. Additional weather information may be required to ensure consistency, accuracy and adequate advance warning. When larger groups are involved, the time needed to properly evacuate an area increases. As time requirements change, the distance at which lightning is noted and considered a threat to move into the area must be increased. Extending the range used to determine threat potential also increases the chance that a localized cell or thunderstorm may not reach the area giving the impression of a “false alarm”. 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:
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.
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 a safe shelter, but the hard metal roof which dissipates the lightning strike around the vehicle. Do not touch the sides of any vehicle!
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. 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 the ground! Do not lie flat! If unable to reach safe shelter, stay away from the tallest trees or objects such as light poles or flag poles), metal objects (such as fences or bleachers), 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.
Avoid using the telephone, except in emergency situations. People have been struck by lightning while using a land-line telephone. A cellular phone or a portable remote phone is a safe alternative to land-line phones, if the person and the antenna are located within a safe structure or location, and if all other precautions are followed.
When considering resumption of any athletics activity, it is recommended that everyone should ideally wait at least thirty (30) minutes after the last flash of lightning or sound of thunder before returning to the field.
For additional information the following website is helpful: