Thursday, September 5, 2013

NFL Season Opens Tonight After Weather Delay

For those of you who wait all summer for the new NFL season to start you had to wait an extra thirty minutes for the game between the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens to kickoff in Denver, Colorado tonight.  If you listened to the commentators who were trying desperately to fill the unplanned airtime you would have thought the game was being delayed because of wind and rain depending on when you tuned in.  In reality, the delay was due to the potential for lightning strikes at the stadium.

Lightning safety at large stadiums is of particular concern when developing emergency action plans because of the unique considerations required.  If you have a football stadium full of fans numbering in the tens of thousands how do you protect them in a storm?  Do you try to get them to leave the stadium and risk potential injuries because of a panic?  Do you design/retrofit the stadium to allow for redirecting the electrical current and keep fans inside the stadium?  These are questions that must be asked by facilities management and the sports leagues anytime lightning is a risk.

To get a refresher on lightning safety basics, check out this previous blog entry.  If you want to learn more about lightning safety in large stadiums, check out this article written by Joel Gratz in 2006.  This article is the crux of many emergency action plans for large sports stadiums and lightning safety.

Submitted by Heather L. Clemons, MS, MBA, ATC

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