Mason Lacrosse Club – Severe Weather/Lightning Policy
1. Leaving the field of play (practice/game).
During a game, rule books put the authority in the hands of the referee to make the call to leave the field in inclement weather. However, it is important that members of the coaching staff (via the Head Coach) give appropriate input to the officials prior to the decision to seek safe shelter. At a practice, coaches are urged to use common sense to provide a safe environment for their charges.
2. Outside weather observer.
A member of the coaching staff who has few responsibilities during practice/games should be designated to keep an eye on changing weather conditions and alert the Head Coach immediately. Parents, fans and like individuals with varied vested interests shall not be involved in this action.
3. Local Forecast.
The Head Coach should monitor the weather forecast during the day of any practices or games.
Changing weather conditions may make it necessary for the Head Coach to postpone or suspend practices. During practices and games, parents are advised to stay close by when weather conditions are iffy so they can help coaches get all players to safe shelter in the event of severe weather. Please note that lacrosse practice fields and most game locations do not have access to appropriate shelter for large groups of people.
League Officials will notify the Club and/or Head Coach of any changes that affect the game schedules as soon as possible. Parents are encouraged to enable the “TEXT MESSAGING” option on our website so that the club or coach can notify you via the website of any last minute changes.
When it becomes evident that shelter may be necessary, the coaching staff should employ the "30-30 Rule." That is, when one sees lightning – one begins counting in seconds until one hears thunder. If one hears thunder in 30 seconds or less, go quickly to shelter. Keep in mind that this rule cannot prevent against the first lightning strike. And, outdoor activities which require moving large groups of people to a distant shelter will require more time than that allotted by the "30-30 Rule".
Safe shelter shall be inside a substantial building, away from doorways, windows. Baseball/Softball dugouts are not appropriate. The shelter shall be able to keep the athletes and fans comfortable for up to 1 hour or more. While less than ideal, an enclosed motor vehicle will suffice. Avoid contact with the steering wheel, ignition, keys and/or radio.
If one cannot get inside to a safe shelter, go to a lower elevation to minimize the risk. Stay away from fields, bleachers, trees, poles, light posts. Avoid unprotected open shelters, metal fences and structures.
If still trapped outside where there is imminent risk of being struck, there are steps one may take. Imminent risk may be noted by the hair on arms and neck standing straight up, skin tingling, hearing a crackling sound. Move several feet away from another person and use the "lightning crouch" to minimize one’s risk. Put the feet together, squat down, tuck the head and cover the ears. When immediate threat of lightning has subsided go to a safe shelter.
5. Suspension of Play.
Mason Lacrosse Club adopts the recommendation of the NWS, the NATA and the NFHS that all athlete and fans shall remain in shelter for 30 minutes past the last lightning observed (which is also the waiting period advised by US Lacrosse).
Bottom line, the best detection may be the old dictum, "If you hear it, fear it; if you see it, flee it." Watch the sky, be ready to vacate the fields immediately should thunderstorms start to develop and avoid the threat of lightning strikes altogether.
Modified US Lacrosse Policy adopted by Mason Lacrosse Club
September 14, 2010