National Lightning Safety Toolkit Updates
Troutman, Timothy W; Woodrum, Charles ; Wilkinson, Stephen ; Franklin, Donna

The National Weather Service (NWS) Lightning Safety Toolkit has continued to gain in popularity among large venues and has begun to spread to smaller organizations. This program creates a partnership between the NWS and emergency management agencies to assist local communities and venue management officials in developing more well- defined lightning safety plans. This includes plans for lightning delays, postponements and cancellations.

The toolkit s guidelines address 1) effective weather information reception; 2) a written lightning safety plan; 3) a public notification plan; 4) a protection plan to shelter patrons; and 5) lightning safety education for venue patrons. To create a safety plan or enhance an existing one, venue management can fill in the toolkit template with the location's site-specific information. The resulting lightning safety document can then be easily and quickly referenced when lightning threatens an event.

The NWS has emphasized lightning safety and preparedness at large event venues across the country due to several recent high profile lightning delays. To help this toolkit reach a broader range of outdoor venues, recent outreach has targeted the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), Stadium Managers Association (SMA), and the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE). In addition, future outreach is planned with NASCAR, Major League Baseball, and YMCAs nationwide.

Recently, the NWS Lighting Safety team has approached NCAA member conferences to adopt the National Lightning Safety toolkit guidelines for their college and university athletic venues. New collaborative work with the Collegiate Event and Facility Management Association (CEFMA), the Atlantic League (unaffiliated Minor-League Baseball), and the National Center for Spectator, Sports, Safety, and Security (NCS4) has continued to widen the scope of venues involved in this program. Examples of improving safety partnerships will be shown in the presentation, along with examples of how some universities are developing lightning and severe weather hazardous evacuation plans and mitigation.