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Lightning Safety: Four things parents, children, athletes and coaches need to know

Do your children know to come inside if they see or hear a thunderstorm approaching? Do you know how to protect yourself from lightning? Does your child’s coach call off practice/games when they see or hear a thunderstorm approaching? 

Rocky Mountain Hospital for ChildrenThe risk of unfavorable weather occurring during sports participation is often a reality and the threat of being struck by lightning is often an underrated danger. Each year, more than 400 people in the U.S. are struck by lightning, resulting in an average of 70 deaths. This tragedy is largely preventable if proper safety measures are understood and put into practice.  Check out these tips provided by the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children and HealthONE.

1. Basic Lightning Facts

• All thunderstorms produce lightning.
• Lightning strikes can cause death or permanent disability.
• If you can hear thunder, the storm is close enough for lightning to strike.
• It does not have to be raining for lightning to strike.

2. Precautions for Outdoor Activities/Sports events
• Be prepared to postpone outdoor activity if thunderstorms are imminent.
• Plan ahead and create a lightning safety plan:
- Know where people will seek shelter
- Have guidelines for suspending the activity and for restarting
- Always follow the plan despite pressure to continue the event

• Keep watching the conditions:
   - Watch the sky for darkness, flashes, and progressing wind
   - Listen for thunder
   - Consider using a weather radio or smartphone for accurate weather conditions. 
   - Flash to Bang: Calculate distance to the lightning: Distance (in miles)= Seconds 
   - Follow the 30-Second Rule: By the time the Flash to Bang is 30 seconds (6 miles), 
• Avoid open areas.
• Stay away from tall objects, which are higher risk for strike. This includes trees, poles, towers or similar objects.
• Do not go near metal (bleachers, fences, posts etc.). Lightning can travel long distances through metal.
• Suspend activity until 30 minutes after the last thunder.

3. Storm Safety Steps
• Seek shelter as soon as possible! A substantial building is best. A car/vehicle can protect you. Be sure to close all windows and do not lean against metal in the car. 
• Avoid small structures, such as rain coverings or stand-alone bathrooms, which are not protective and attract lightning. Weatherbug is a free mobile app that is accurate and helpful to track conditions (between lightning to thunder) divided by 5 all individuals should be seeking shelter
• If you are swimming, get out of the water immediately and move away from the water. If you feel your hair standing on end, lightning is about to strike and there may not be time to seek shelter. When this happens, assume the “lightning crouch”
• Crouch down on the balls of your feet and lean over with your hands over your ears.
• Make yourself as small a target as possible, with as little contact to ground as you can manage.
• Do not lie flat on the ground.

4. Lightning First Aid
• Call 9-1-1 for help. Victims do not carry electrical charge and need immediate attention.
• Give first aid. Cardiac arrest is the cause of fatality. Begin CPR if necessary.
• Move the victim to a safer place. Contrary to what you’ve heard, lightning can strike the same location twice.

Most importantly, keep informed! Educate your children about lightning safety and rehearse emergency scenarios. Discuss the facts and encourage your child’s coaches to adhere to a lightning safety plan. 

For more information on lightning safety, visit the website for NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

August 25, 2014 | By rmbarber | Category: Safety and Security, Schools

District News

graduates standing in line outside, smiling

DOUGLAS COUNTY – Graduation rates in the Douglas County School District (DCSD) continue to climb. Data released today by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) shows the on-time, four-year graduation rate is now 90.4 percent.

DCSD students also made an impressive showing at graduation. The class of 2017 earned more than $82 million in scholarships.

DCSD has one of the highest graduation rates in the Denver metro area. According to CDE, DCSD graduation rates have risen steadily from 81.9 percent in 2009 to 90.4 percent in 2017.

Five female students standing on stage smiling and laughing at the awards ceremony

The top two-percent of female athletes in Douglas County School District (DCSD) were honored at the annual Girls and Women in Sports Luncheon last week at Chaparral High School. This year represented the 30th national celebration of Girls and Women in Sports Day, created to encourage and promote the participation of girls in athletics. The girls who were honored were selected by their school’s coaches, athletic directors and principals for their outstanding achievements.

Superintendent Search text based logo

Working through the recent winter break, the Douglas County School District Board of Education has kicked off its search for DCSD’s next permanent superintendent. Following a thorough vetting of potential search firms, Ray & Associates (no relation to Board Director David Ray) has been hired to conduct the national search. The cost of the firm, excluding travel expenses, is $40,000. The money will come from the school board's budget, which is used for costs such as legal expenses and conferences.