“If you see it (lightning), flee it; if you can hear it (thunder), clear it”
It is paramount to keep in mind that a player’s parent and/or guardian has the ultimate decision-making responsibility regarding the removal of their child from severe weather and lightening. Nonetheless, a strong commitment to common sense must be exercised by coaches, officials, and players.
The field of play should be evacuated if any lightning is seen or thunder is heard in the area.
Games: The referee is responsible for the safety of the players. Be aware of any severe weather guidelines or policies. When the decision is made to evacuate and clear the field during games, the referee will blow his whistle to suspend the game and announce the game is being stopped for the possibility of lightning and/or severe weather. The official shall record the time remaining in the game and will then instruct everyone to seek safe shelter. Assist the official if asked concerning the suspension of play. Furthermore, if lightning is seen or thunder heard, regardless of the official’s decision, exercise prudent common sense to ensure as best as possible the safety of players, coaches, officials, and spectators. Again, the primary responsibility for the safety of a player lies in a parent or guardian’s parental decision.
Practices: While a parent or guardian of a player is primarily responsible for the safety of the player, coaches should exercise prudent common sense for the safety of the players concerning lightning and/or severe weather. If the decision is made to evacuate the field of play, coaches must insist that players and parents quickly evacuate to a safe shelter.
Safe shelter includes a car, truck, or van with a hard top. Avoid places such as pavilions, shelter under trees or poles, or remaining in an open field.
Resumption of Practice/Play
Common sense and prudent observation should be used in determining whether to resume Practice or play after a decision to evacuate has been made and exercised. A guideline that may be used to resume play after the last thunder or lightning is fifteen (15) minutes without subsequent thunder or lightning observation. If lightning or thunder is observed during the 14 minute waiting period, the 15 minute waiting period is restarted from the time of the most current observation or lightning of thunder.