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Highline Soccer Association (HSA)

Lightning Safety

30-30 Rule

  • The “30-30 Rule” offers easy to follow lightning safety guidance. When you see lightning, count the time until you hear thunder. If that time is 30 seconds or less, the thunderstorm is close enough to be dangerous. Seek shelter. If you can't see the lightning, just hearing the thunder is a good back-up rule. Wait at least 30 minutes after the lightning flash before returning to play.

Each year, about 400 children and adults in the U.S. are struck by lightning. About 80 people are killed and several hundred more are left to cope with permanent disabilities. Finishing the game, isn't worth death or crippling injury.
  • All thunderstorms produce lightning and are dangerous. Lightning kills more people each year than tornadoes.
  • Lightning often strikes as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall. Many deaths from lightning occur ahead of the storm because people try and wait to the last minute before seeking shelter.
  • You are in danger from lightning if you can hear thunder. If you can hear thunder, lightning is close enough that it could strike your location at any moment.
  • Look for dark cloud bases and increasing wind. Every flash of lightning is dangerous, even the first. Head to safety before that first flash. If you hear thunder, head to safety!
  • Blue Skies and Lightning. Lightning can travel sideways for up to 10 miles. If you hear thunder, take cover. At least 10% of lightning occurs without visible clouds in the sky.

The Single Most Dangerous Place
Outdoors is the most dangerous place to be during a lightning storm. When lightning is seen or thunder is heard, or when dark clouds are observed, quickly move indoors or into a hard-topped vehicle and remain there until well after the lightning storm ends. If lightning is forecast, plan an alternate activity or know where you can take cover quickly.

Safety Rules

  1. Postpone activities promptly. Don't wait for rain. Many people take shelter from the rain, but most people struck by lightning are not in the rain! Go quickly inside a completely enclosed building, not a carport, open garage or covered patio. If no enclosed building is convenient, get inside a hard-topped all-metal vehicle.
  2. Be the lowest point. Lightning hits the tallest object.
  3. Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of lightning, or increasing wind, which may be signs of an approaching thunderstorm.
  4. Listen for the sound of thunder. If you can hear thunder, go to a safe shelter immediately.
  5. If you see or hear a thunderstorm coming or your hair stands on end, immediately suspend your game or practice and instruct everyone to go inside a sturdy building or car. Sturdy buildings are the safest place to be. Avoid sheds, picnic shelters, baseball dugouts, and bleachers. If no sturdy building is nearby, a hard-top vehicle with windows closed will offer some protection. The steel frame of the vehicle provides some protection if you are not touching metal.
  6. Get out of the water. It's a great conductor of electricity. Don’t stand in puddles of water, even if wearing rubber boots.
  7. Avoid metal! Stay away from fences, exposed sheds and electrically conductive elevated objects. Don't hold on to metal items. Large metal objects can conduct lightning. Small metal objects can cause burns.
  8. Move away from a group of people. Stay several yards away from other people. Don't share a bleacher bench or huddle in a group.

What to do if someone is struck by lightning:

  • Call for help. Call 9-1-1 or your local ambulance service. Get medical attention as quickly as possible.
  • Give first aid. If the victim has stopped breathing, begin rescue breathing. If the heart has stopped beating, a trained person should give CPR. If the person has a pulse and is breathing, address any other injuries.
  • Check for burns in two places. The injured person has received an electric shock and may be burned. Being struck by lightning can also cause nervous system damage, broken bones, and loss of hearing or eyesight. People struck by lightning carry no electrical charge that can shock other people. You can examine them without risk.


For more information visit the National Weather Service web site at



Highline Soccer Association (HSA), 126 SW 148th Street Suite C100 - Box 187
Burien, Washington 98166

Phone: 206-659-9315
Email: [email protected]

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