Lightning Policy

Due to the significant risks and possibility of fatal injury from lightning strikes, it is imperative the Christiansburg Department of Parks and Recreation have a clear policy on how to deal with lightning in and around the areas of practice and/or competition. This policy will help to clearly state the department's position on this issue and help to define roles of certain individuals during the decision making process. The coaching and support staff’s primary responsibility is for the safety and concern of the participants.

The following plan will be in effect for all Christiansburg Department of Parks and Recreation youth and adult athletic events, including practices and special events:

Depending on the event being played the Youth Athletic or Adult Athletic Supervisor, Game Field Supervisor or Coach will monitor the weather. This will be done through the use of the DTN Weather Sentry Lightning and Storm detector (if equipped) or by the Flashto Bang Method.

In the event of threatening or inclement weather the Youth Athletic or Adult Athletic Supervisor, Game Field Supervisor or Coach will inform the participants and spectators either through the public address system or any other means available of impending severe weather.

GENERAL POLICY: A member of the Christiansburg Department of Parks and Recreation Staff, if on site will monitor the weather and make the decision to notify the Game Field Supervisor (during a game) or Head Coach (during practice) of dangerous situations and recommend the suspension of activity in the event of lightning. Exceptions will be made for any activity where a Christiansburg Department of Parks and Recreation or Game Field Supervisor is not in attendance, whereby the supervising coach will have the ability to suspend activity. The decision to suspend activity will be based on:

  • Any reported lightning strike on the DTN Weather Sentry Lightning/Storm Detector within the 10 mile range regardless of the presence of visible lightning. (This device is portable and will be in the possession of the Youth Athletic or Adult Athletic Supervisor, Game Field Supervisor or Coach).
  • Utilization of the Flash-to-Bang Method (Count the seconds from the time the lightning is sighted to when the clap of thunder is heard. Divide this number by five to obtain how far away, in miles, the lightning is occurring.) If it reveals lightning to be within 10 miles (a 50 second count between the flash of lightning and the bang of thunder) activity is to be suspended and everyone should seek shelter immediately.

ANNOUNCEMENT OF SUSPENSION OF ACTIVITY: Once it is determined that there is a danger of inclement weather, the Youth Athletic or Adult Athletic Supervisor will notify the Game Field Supervisor (during a game). The Head Coach (during practice) should immediately request the removal of all players, coaches, from the playing field when receiving text message on any reported lightning strike on the DTN Weather Sentry Lightning/Storm Detector within the 10 mile range. If DTN Weather Sentry Lightning/Storm Detector is not available revert to using the Flash-to-Bang Method. The coaches’ primary responsibility is for the safety and concern of the participants.

EVACUATION OF THE PLAYING FIELD AND STANDS: Immediately following the public address announcement (if available) of suspension of play, all players, coaches, officials, support personnel and spectators are to evacuate the facility to their vehicles, bus. Participants and spectators should be advised that we do not consider the areas under the (Picnic shelters' or bathrooms) at Kiwanis Park) or dugouts to be safe in the case of lightning. All parties will be urged to remain in a safe location until conditions improve unless otherwise notified by appropriate representatives.

RETURN TO PLAY: Play will be resumed 30 minutes following the last lightning strike. The last lightning strike will be determined by either the detection system or visual confirmation. The 30 minute time frame will immediately start over with each additional lightning strike.

All coaches that would like to receive information on our weather system or would like to get text messages on storms and lightning in the area for practices and games should contact Nick Yopp at (540) 382–2349.