Stadium Safety - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Stadium Safety

For Archer City High School Football Coach and Athletic Director Don Hasley, getting people to safety when lightning is around is a bit harder than one might think.

"Most folks you would figure would go, but you'll still get people some people that want to stay in the stands, and there going to do so at their own risk cause we'll come over the intercom and give our advice and tell everyone to evacuate," Hasley said. 

When bad weather hits during a high school sporting event, coaches and administrators follow the U.I.L. recommendations for lightning safety. The most important thing is to establish a chain of command which determines who makes the call to remove individuals from the field. Once players and spectators are off the field, officials have to wait 30 minutes after the last lightning strike or rumble of thunder.  

"After 30 minutes if there's no other visible sign of weather then play can resume," explained Hasley. "However, any time there's another sound of thunder or visible lightning strike, then that clock starts all over again."

Hasley says that Archer City is fortunate to have two locker rooms that are safe spots for players and fans to go in the case of an evacuation. The secondary protocol is to seek shelter in a car as fast as possible. 

When it comes to lightning safety, no matter if its with fans, parents, or kids, Hasley emphasizes that he doesn't want to take any risk with people's lives.

"You have people in charge of kids whose first priority is taking care of them, and be it here or somewhere else, common sense will come into play and err on the side of caution," he said.

If lightning or bad weather suspends the game, what happens next depends on whether or not the two teams are playing in a district football game. If it's a non district game, the coaches of the two teams have to come to a decision on whether or not to finish the game the next day.If it's a district game, the game would resume the next morning and the teams would pick up where they left off.


Dave Caulfield, Newschannel 6

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