Two recent events prompted me to make a lightning safety infographic. Yesterday evening we held our Scout meeting at a park nearby during a powerful thunderstorm. We took shelter and played games for most of the hour and a half (this was one of our ‘summer sessions’ and we usually play a bunch of games at the park).
While we were at the park 23 Scouts and adults were injured in a lightning strike at Camp Griswold in New Hampshire (hundreds of miles and several states away from us). Thankfully none of the injuries were serious, but this close call prompts us to review lightning safety.
Every adult volunteer should take the time to complete the online weather hazards training;
Hazardous Weather training must be completed prior to requesting a tour permit from the BSA. The module presents safety precautions for eight different types of weather, as well as planning, preparation, and traditional weather signs. You will answer questions about the topics after each section. Completion is noted automatically in the BSA training records database if the module is experienced online.Estimated time to complete: 40 minutes.
The Infographic is available as a PDF document.
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Question, so if you wait till the thunder and lightning are 30seconds apart as the storm approaches then presumably the storm is 30 miles away. Does the training still state that if you can hear thunder then your close enough to get hit? That’s the dilemma I always have. Some storms around here you can hear coming for a long time.
And for the all clear are you waiting for the last thunder to be 30 seconds apart from the lightning or simply the last thunder you hear?
Clarke Green says
You are incorrect; it takes about 5 seconds for sound to travel one mile. If you see lightning begin counting. If you hear thunder before you get to thirty seek shelter. If the time between the flash of lightning and the sound of thunder is less than 30 seconds that means the storm is six or less miles from you.
Once you are sheltered wait until thirty minutes after you have heard the last thunder (not lightning, thunder).
Walter Underwood says
The storm is 5-6 miles away and thunderstorms often move at 30-40 miles/hour. That means you have less than ten minutes to prepare.
That is why I say the 30 second rule is too late. Ten minutes is not enough time to get off the mountain or out of the middle of the lake. You have to watch the weather and get to a safer location long before you see lightning and hear thunder.
Walter Underwood says
Here is an illustrated and detailed discussion of lightning safety from NOLS.
I think there is too much emphasis on 30/30 and not enough on watching the weather and staying out of situations where you are exposed to lightning danger. When the storm is 30s away, you really only have time to hunker down and pray.
Chris Edscorn says
The Scouts were part of the 2013 NYLT Camp at Camp Bell on the Griswald Scout Reservation in Gilmanton Iron Works, NH. According to the local TV station, which sometimes has some inaccuracies, they were all under shelter, dining flies, when the lightning struck a tree very close to one of the shelters. 20 minutes later burns began the appear on the Scouts and all were taken to area hospitals to be on the safe side. Some of the burns were considered serious. All GSR Staff are extremely well trained and performed admirably and with great calm. NYLT hardly skipped a beat, continuing with program today.
Prayers and thoughts for those injured please.
Here’s one Scout’s report of what happened.