Resources / Severe Weather(Lightning Safety) – For University Staff

Lightning safety awareness is a priority at all outdoor activities and a lightning safety plan is the responsibility of each supervisor directing the activities of employees who work outdoors. No place outdoors is 100% safe from lightning. The important thing to remember is to “Anticipate a high-risk situation and move to a low-risk location.”

  1. Detection. Lightning conditions should be monitored continuously.  A simple weather app on a smart phone can show where lightning is present.
    • Note: If thunder is heard, the danger is close enough to suspend operations and to
      seek refuge.
  2. Notification.  Suspension and resumption of work activities should be planned in advance:
    • Yellow condition: 20-40 miles (30-60 km). Threat may exist.
    • Amber condition: 10-20 miles (16-30 km). Threat is nearby
    • Red alert: 0-10 miles (0-16 km). No one is permitted outdoors.
  3. Safe shelter. Safe evacuation sites include:
    • Fully enclosed all-metal vehicles
    • Permanent, substantial buildings

Unsafe areas during thunderstorms include proximity to all metal objects, such as power poles, fences and gates, light poles, metal machinery, electrical equipment, hauling machinery, and radio equipment.

Avoid rooftops   –   Avoid water   –   Avoid all open areas.

  1. Re-assess the threat. Wait for 30 minutes after thunder is no longer heard before resuming activities. Be extra cautious during this storm phase, as the lightning danger still may be a significant hazard.
  2. Resume normal outdoor activities when all is clear and no thunder has been heard for 30 minutes.
  3. All personnel who work outdoors should be trained in the elements shown above.

People who have been struck by lightning do not carry an electrical charge and are safe to assist. Apply first aid immediately if you are qualified to do so. Get emergency help promptly. On campus, if you need an ambulance call 911.

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