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COUNTY THUNDER & LIGHTNING GUIDELINES and Heat Index Policy

STAFFORD COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PARKS, RECREATION AND COMMUNITY FACILITIES

INCLEMENT WEATHER, THUNDER AND LIGHTNING GUIDELINES

When inclement weather is forecast all staff on duty at any park or county facility should be observant of weather conditions. When severe weather that includes thunder or lightning is expected these general guidelines will be followed. Safety of park patrons is paramount.

  • Sports Fields
    Upon hearing thunder or seeing lightning the officials (coaches, umpires and referees) shall suspend the game and clear the field.
  • Officials (coaches, umpires and referees)  shall direct participants and spectators to go to their vehicles or some other enclosed substantial structure. (Dugouts and picnic shelters are not suitable, safe structures during a lightning storm.)
  • Persons will not be permitted to reenter the facilities until 30 minutes after the last time thunder was heard or lightning was seen.
  • If staff is on site and inclement weather is likely, before games start staff shall confirm with the officials (coaches, umpires and referees)the department policy on thunder and lightning.
  • Upon observing thunder or lightning staff shall notify the officials  (coaches, umpires and referees)and identify the direction it came from.
  • Staff shall give the officials the opportunity to suspend or terminate the game.
  • If the officials (coaches, umpires and referees) take no action in a reasonable amount of time (within minutes) and severe weather persists, staff shall blow one long, 2 second, blast on an air horn to notify all park patrons of the need to proceed to their vehicles or other enclosed substantial structure.

General Park Areas

If staff is on site and upon hearing thunder or seeing lightning, staff shall notify patrons that they need to proceed to their vehicles or other enclosed substantial structure. (Dugouts and picnic shelters are not suitable, safe structures during a lightning storm.)

Field Closure procedure:

Stafford County Parks and Rec will let the club know by 2:00 pm if the fields are open or closed for the day. 

If there are field closures we will post closed field status on the website, on the weather hotline (540-657-2010) and on social media outlets. The Stafford County Alert system is utilized by County Staff only. County Staff will post messages/email/text to the Alert if fields are closed. 

Coaches, please note, it is at your discretion to cancel any practice if inclement weather occurs after Stafford County has established open field status for the day.

Heat Index Policy

H. Heat Index Policy

Purpose. Stafford Soccer’s primary goal is player safety. Stafford Soccer recognizes and is dedicated to educating its members about the health risks posed to athletes in hot weather situations. In order to promote player safety and recognition of heat related symptoms, Stafford

Soccer has adopted the following Hot Weather Policy.

1. Hot Weather Information.

a. Generally. Hot weather, especially on turf fields, can present a significant health risk to athletes when the body is unable to cool, or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration or sweating. As body temperature increases, fatigue levels, cramps and the possibility of heat exhaustion or heat stroke also increase. The body is much less apt to be able to cool in hotter, more humid weather. The health risks associated with hot weather can present in weather with temperatures as low as 65 degrees if the relative humidity is 100%.

b. Heat Index. The Heat Index, sometimes referred to as the apparent temperature is given in degrees Fahrenheit. The Heat Index is a measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature.

c. Heat Cramps.

Symptoms:

 First Aid:

i. Move person to a cooler environment

ii. Remove or loosen clothing

iii. Apply cool, wet cloths

iv. Fan or move victim to air conditioned room

v. Offer sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue water. If vomiting continues,

seek immediate medical attention.

e. Heat Stroke.

 Symptoms:

i. Altered mental state

ii. Possible throbbing headache, confusion, nausea, dizziness, shallow breathing

iii. High body temperature (106°F or higher)

iv. Skin may be hot and dry, or patient may be sweating

v. Rapid pulse

vi. Possible unconsciousness

 First Aid:

i. Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Summon emergency medical

assistance or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal.

ii. Move the victim to a cooler, preferably air-conditioned, environment

iii. Reduce body temperature with a water mister and fan or sponging

iv. Use fan if heat index temperatures are below the high 90s

v. Use extreme caution

vi. If temperature rises again, repeat process

vii. Do NOT give fluids

2. Practice and Policy.

a. Education. Coaches should review this policy each season. The heat index chart will be posted online for reference along with this policy and the Heat Index Recommendations (below).

b. Practices. Coaches should take into account the heat index when planning practice sessions. During practices, coaches should consider the intensity of activities and offer additional breaks for rest and water. Coaches may cancel practices for extreme weather conditions but must notify the Fields Coordinator or Office of any decision to do so. Parents may elect not to allow players to participate, but should notify the coach of such decision.

c. Games. Games should be adjusted as the heat index rises. Coaches and referees should cooperate to offer water breaks or shorten the games. Water breaks can be added stoppages within a half, or the game might be divided into quarters instead of halves. Games can be shortened by reducing each half by up to ten minutes.

Heat Index Recommendation

Up to 90° Normal play.

91°-99° Add a two-minute water break per half with running time. Shorten

each half by five minutes.

100°-105° Add a two-minute water break per half with running time. Shorten

each half by ten minutes.

106°+ Suspend play.

d. Heat Index Recommendations. Club and team officials as well as tournament officials should monitor the heat index (by weather radio, online or the Weather Channel) and keep the  participating teams and game officials informed of the heat index. Coaches are encouraged to also monitor the conditions. The following are recommended when there is a possibility of dangerous high heat index:

e. Parents are ultimately responsible for making the decision to allow players to participate or not in hot weather conditions. In the event a team is unable to play due to lack of players during a hot weather event, the game or activity may be removed from the schedule and shall not be required to be rescheduled.

Contact Us

Stafford Soccer

235 Garrisonville Rd.Suite 101 Stafford VA 22554 
Stafford, Virginia 22554

Email Us: [email protected]
Phone : 540-657-0734
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