Lightning Policy – When We Suspend Play

Inclement Weather Policy

Purpose – Primarily for the protection of the health and safety of soccer players, coaches, spectators, and game officials. Additionally, protecting the condition of fields is a top priority.  Poor weather conditions not only contribute to the damage of soccer fields, but, more importantly, inclement weather conditions can present a hazard to players, coaches, spectators, and game officials.  Coaches, referees, and club officials have the overall responsibility for the safety of players during practices and games.

City of Folsom Rain Line (916.568.3915)

If it is simply raining, please check the field status by calling the City of Folsom rain line. We will send out a mass email to all game officials if we know the grass fields are closed. Turf fields can be utilized in rain, in nearly all instances.

Lightning -Guidelines for Suspending or Abandoning Games

Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles from the area where it is raining or even where it is not raining. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance. FSC will follow the recommendation of the National Severe Storms Laboratory, which provides that athletic participation will cease when lightning is detected within 6 miles. For purposes of this policy, a 30 second flash-to-bang count will be utilized (see calculations below). To simplify, there must be a span of longer than 30 seconds between the flash, which will be seen instantaneously, to the bang, which travels at a rate of one mile per 5 seconds of delay, in order to continue participation in a game.

Referees and coaches shall direct players and spectators to leave the field for safe shelter, which includes their hard-top vehicles with the windows closed or some other sturdy enclosed substantial structure. (Dugouts and picnic shelters are not suitable, safe structures during a lightning storm.) While there is not a place absolutely safe from the lightning threat, some places are safer than others. The best option is a large building with electric and telephone wiring and plumbing to provide a safe pathway for the current to reach the ground.

All individuals and teams have the right to leave a site or activity, without fear of repercussion or penalty, in order to seek a safe structure or location if they feel that they are in danger from impending lightning activity.

In the event a game must be suspended because of conditions that make it impossible to continue play within a reasonable time on the same day, the sanctioning organization for a given competition shall determine the outcome of the game or if there will be a reschedule.

Once the game has begun, the referee may suspend the game without the concurrence of both coaches, but FSC strongly encourages a conference between the head referee and the coaches before a decision is reached. Referees shall wait in a safe location close to the site and be prepared to continue the game unless the head referee declares the game officially abandoned. The referee will provide a written explanation for abandoning the match on the official game card. The determination of the outcome of any shortened game or any replay will be made by the sanctioning body of the competition.

Prior to continuation of the game, the teams shall be afforded sufficient time to warm up as determined by the referee consulting with the coaches. A maximum time of 10 minutes is considered sufficient.

If a temporary suspension of a match is warranted, due to lightning, the remainder of the game may be shortened by agreement of the coaches, or order of the referee, in consideration of field and game official scheduling for the remainder of the day.

If the game is suspended to another date, the referees are entitled to the full game fee. If the game is resumed on another date, the referees are entitled to a full game fee.

Facts about Lightning – Calculating Flash-to Bang

It takes the sound of the bang of a thunderclap five seconds to travel one mile, lightning flash is seen instantaneously. Therefore for every five seconds between the flash of lightning and the bang of thunder, lightning is one mile away.

A thirty second Flash-to-Bang count means lightning is 6 miles away.

The average length of a lightning bolt is 3-6 miles long.

The average speed of a thunderstorm is 25 MPH.

Lightning can strike from a clear blue sky.

First Aid for Lightning Strikes
Call 911. Get medical attention as quickly as possible.

If the victim has stopped breathing, begin rescue breathing. If the heart has stopped beating, a trained person should give CPR. If the person has a pulse and is breathing, address any other injuries.

Check for burns in two places. The injured person has received an electric shock and may be burned, both where struck and where the electricity left their body. Being struck by lightning can also cause nervous system damage, broken bones, and loss of hearing or eyesight. People struck by lightning carry no electrical charge and cannot shock other people.