Emergency Action Plan » Inclement Weather Policies & Procedures

Inclement Weather Policies & Procedures

It is likely that there will be occasions when thunderstorms are present during outdoor athletic practices or competition during the school year. Therefore, McBee High School has implemented the following guidelines to reduce the risk of lightning strike to anyone involved with athletic activities.
Thor Guard Lightening System:
McBee High School has a lightning prediction system manufactured by Thor Guard, Inc. This system is in place to warn athletes, participants, and spectators at outdoor athletic and campus recreation facilities when a danger of lightning strike exists.
Thor guard uses a series of strategically located horns and strobes, the system is designed to issue warnings in time for those at outdoor athletic facilities to seek shelter at an appropriate location.
McBee High School requires all faculty, staff, and students participating in sanctioned outdoor activities to immediately seek shelter in an appropriate location when a danger of lightning strike exists. This requirement extends to the faculty, staff, and students of visiting athletic teams, clubs, or other organizations when engaged in practice, competition, or other outdoor activities at McBee High School.
All others, who may hear or see the warnings (i.e. spectators, visitors, etc.), are strongly encouraged to seek shelter in an appropriate location when a danger of lightning strike exists.
The existence of a lightning strike danger is confirmed by the activation of the Thor Guard system’s horns and strobes; however, other weather monitoring systems, and visual observations may also be used to determine that a danger of lightning strike exists.
The Thor Guard system is designed to predict a lightning strike within a defined geographical region and provide a “RED ALERT” consisting of audible and visual warnings approximately 8 to 20 minutes before lightning strikes are experienced within that region.
“RED ALERT” & “ALL CLEAR” Identification
When conditions for a lightning strike exist, the system will give a 15-second blast on the horn cluster. At the same time, a yellow strobe will activate and stay on until the danger has passed. Once the potential for a lightning strike has passed, the system will activate the horns for an all-clear signal -- three short (5 second duration) blasts -- and the strobe light will stop blinking.
Suspending Activities and Seeking Shelter
      • If the Thor Guard Lightning Prediction System activates or a lightning strike danger is indicated by other monitoring systems, seek shelter inside a nearby building or a fully enclosed metal vehicle.
      • Do not seek shelter under towers, trees or tall objects that could attract a lightning strike. Once inside a vehicle do not touch any metal that could be part of the vehicle frame.
      • If you are working with an outdoor group, suspend activities and guide your participants inside.
Resumption of Activities
Activities may be resumed after having been suspended when the Thor Guard system gives the “all clear” signal (three 5-second blasts of the horns and strobes stop blinking).
**In the event there is a problem with the Thor Guard system, activities may be resumed 30 minutes after the last incidence of lightning and thunder in the area. This will be monitored by the ATC or administration/officials at sporting events. At this time, the “Plan B” policy listed below will be activated.
Plan B (If Thor Guard System is down):
“When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors”
      • If threatening weather is nearing, the athletic trainer with help from student trainers or student managers will monitor the sky.
        1. If Athletic Trainer is not on-site coaches are responsible for monitoring weather. Using local radar is recommended to monitor oncoming weather.
      • If Thunder is heard, this should be an alert to lightening in the area. Using WeatherBug Spark lightning alert is recommended to determine distance of lightning to your area. If lightning detected within 8 miles or a flash to bang count of 40 seconds or less (within 8 miles) activities will be suspended immediately and the area will be cleared.
      • If activities are suspended the following areas are safe areas for athletes and spectators
        1. During practices coaching staff will be made aware of lightning in the area and move athletes and staff into a covered building with wiring and plumbing.
        2. If Play is suspended at the stadium an announcement will be made and spectators will be urged to move to a safe location. Vehicles will be the safest location for spectators. Athletes and staff will move to the fieldhouse/locker-room.
        3. If play is suspended during baseball or softball teams will be moved to the fieldhouse. Dugouts are not safe. Spectators will be urged to find safety in their vehicles.
        4. If play is suspended during baseball or softball game the home team may go into the clubhouse and visitors will return to their bus. Dugout is not safe. Spectators will be urged to find safety in their vehicles.
        5. If play is suspended during a tennis match, Players will be moved to the school or baseball fieldhouse. Spectators will be urged to find safety in their vehicles.
        6. If play is suspended during cross country/ track event, teams will be moved to their bus or vehicles and spectators will be urged to return to their vehicles.
      • Once activity has been suspended, resumption of play may occur after there has been no lightning within 30 minutes of the location closer than 10 miles. If no lightning service is available a play may resume after no lightning has been seen for 30 minutes with a flash to bang count of 50 seconds.
  • Activate the EMS-911
  • Lightning strike victims do not carry a charge and are safe to touch/assess
  • Make sure the scene is safe
  • Evaluate and treat patients in the following order:
    1. Move patient(s) carefully to a safer location if needed
    2. Evaluate ABCs and LOC and treat for apnea (cessation of breathing) and absence of heartbeat (cardiac arrest)
    3. Evaluate and treat for the possibility of spinal injuries
    4. Evaluate and treat for hypothermia
  • Do not delay CPR to locate and apply an AED.
  • When a tornado warning is in effect for the area, all events will be postponed until the warning has been withdrawn.
  • All athletes, coaches, visitors, and fans will be taken to the safe shelter locations where they will assume the “tornado-safe” position.
  • Safe shelter locations: MHS Hallway—enter through entrance by cafeteria
  • “Tornado-Safe” Position: kneeling facing the wall with hands over the back of head and neck, tucked into a ball.
**all individuals have the right to leave an athletic event, without fear of repercussion or penalty, to seek safe structure or location if they feel that are in danger from inclement weather. **
Cold Weather Exposure
A safety threat exists when the physically active cannot maintain heat. Cold exposure can be uncomfortable, impair performance, increase injury risk and may be life threatening. Cold weather is defined as any temperature that can negatively affect the body’s regulatory system. These do not have to be freezing temperatures.
Cold Weather Practice Recommendations


(wind chill*)



Above 32° F


No restriction with adequate clothing that covers extremities

32° – 26° F


45 min activity with 15 min indoor warming each hour.

25° F or below


No outdoor activity

Above 35°F


No restriction with adequate clothing that covers extremities

35° – 32° F


45 min activity with 15 min indoor warming each hour. Change into dry clothing before returning outdoors.

32° F or below


No outdoor activity

* Wind chill is sometimes reported as “feels like”
It is advised to check weather temperatures before and during practice to determine adjustments needed for practice. Temperatures can be checked on any weather app such as WeatherBug, or weather channel. Make sure you are looking at the “feels like” temperatures.
*Game cancellations will be determined by athletic director with guidelines taken into consideration. *
Contributing factors to cold-related injuries:
  • Dehydration
  • Poor physical conditioning
  • Inadequate/ wet clothing
    • Prevention of cold exposure injury: In cold weather temperatures proper layered clothing should be worn and encouraged. These include
      • Several layers around the core of the body to insulate, especially for those individuals who are least active,
      • Long pants designed to insulate, A nylon shell or wind pant on top serves well as a wind break
      • Long sleeve shirts/sweatshirt/coat designed to block wind and insulate. These may be layered
      • Gloves
      • Ear protection/hat
      • Wicking socks that do not hold moisture inside. Cotton absorbs and holds moisture; wool is a better alternative.
      • Athletes who are not dressed adequately for the weather should not be allowed to participate for his or her safety.
  • Malnutrition
    • Cold exposure requires more energy from a body. Additional caloric intake may be required to support energy needs.
    • Cold weather activity has similar hydration needs to warm weather activity. Athletes lose more water through respiration and sweat as the air is much drier than in warmer, less windy months. Though the thirst reflex is not activated as quickly in cold, a conscious effort to hydrate before, during, and after activity should be made.
  • Medical conditions impeding circulation: diabetes, Raynaud’s syndrome, anemia, sickle cell disease, heart disease
Indications for beginning stages of cold injuries
The following are signs of impaired circulation related to cold injuries:
  • Tingling, redness, numbness in the extremities (nose, ears, fingers, toes, exposed skin)
  • Swelling
  • Rash
If you experience any of these symptoms, gently rewarm skin without vigorous rubbing and remove wet clothing.
Heat Exposure Policy
In an effort to reduce the risk of heat illness in times of high ambient heat and humidity as often occurs in our area in the late summer/early fall McBee High School has adopted the following criteria:
  1. Staff shall help acclimatize the athletes/participants by gradually increasing intensity and duration of training in the heat over a period of 7-14 days.
  2. Athletes/Participants will be educated on proper eating habits and hydration prior to start of season.
  3. When possible practices and activities will not be scheduled in the hours of most direct sun exposure.
  4. Per SCSHL guidelines Wet Bulb Global Temperature (WBGT) will be used to determine activity levels and modifications. Temperature must be monitored on site of activity.
  5. Modifications are set by the following chart:


    Activity Guidelines

    Under 82.0

    Normal activity--constant water required--provide at least 3 separate rest breaks each hour at minimum duration of 3 minutes each during workout


    Caution--use discretion for intense or prolonged exercise--constant water required--watch at-risk players closely--provide at least 3 separate rest breaks each hour at minimum duration of 4 minutes each during workout


    Maximum practice time 2 hours--Constant water required--For Football: Helmet, Shoulder pads, and Shorts--Rest break in shaded area required--All equipment removed for conditioning--Cooling stations required--provide at least 4 separate rest breaks each hour for duration of 4 mins


    Maximum practice time 1 hour--No protective equipment--Walk through activities only--Constant water require--must be 20 min break during 1-hour practice

    Over 92.1

    No outdoor activity.

  6. If WBGT is not available Heat and Humidity will be monitored and practices will be altered based on WBGT chart:Wet Bulb Global Temperature
  7. AED –with Certified Athletic Trainer or in Athletic Training Facility.
  8. Pre-Participation physicals are required per SCHSL regulations. Staff will be made aware of those participants who have conditions that may make them more susceptible to heat illness.