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Lightening Policy

  • The Athletic Trainer is in charge of making the decision to remove individuals from the field when there is an imminent threat of severe weather.

    • If an Athletic Trainer is not present, it is the responsibility of the coaches to monitor the weather condition
    • During a game situation, the Athletic Trainer will make recommendations for the officials at the game

    The Athletic Trainer should monitor the weather when inclement weather conditions are probable through sources such as the National Weather Service (, or other reliable weather applications via a mobile phone or tablet such as WeatherBug, My Lightning Tracker, or others as the athletic trainer sees fit. Many mobile weather apps will provide a more concise and accurate reading of the current weather conditions at a specific location compared to national or local weather services and websites.

    A practice or game must be SUSPENDED IMMEDIATELY if:

    • Lightning is seen
    • Lightning is detected within 10 miles
    • Thunder is heard

    All individuals should seek a shelter in a safe location:

    • A safe location is defined as a building that is fully enclosed, with metal plumbing or grounded electrical wiring OR a fully enclosed vehicle with a hard top
    • A pavilion, shed, or garage with an open door is NOT considered a safe shelter
    • Avoid being in contact with, or close proximity to, areas of open water or the highest point of an open field.

    Practices or games cannot resume until 30 minutes after the last (1) visible lightning strike, (2) lightning detection within 10 miles or less, or (3) sound of thunder.


    Lightening Strike Emergency Plan of Action (EAP)
    *Lightening strike victims DO NOT carry an electrical charge. It is okay to touch the patient.

    1. Ensure the scene is safe for the responder
    2. Move the victim to a safe location if possible

    If the victim is unresponsive: 

    1. Immediately call 911
    2. If the victim is not breathing and does not have a pulse, begin CPR
    3. Attach an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to the patient as soon as it becomes available

    If the victim is responsive:

    1. Evaluate and treat for spinal injury
    2. Treat for hypothermia (blankets, remove wet clothes, monitor vitals, warm fluids, etc.) - Do NOT apply direct heat
    3. Refer to the ER for further evaluation

    Sentara Lightening Policy pdf