Emergency Action Plan

Emergency Procedures

Coaches Responsibilities

A member of the teams coaching staff should supervise all practices, conditioning and weight training sessions. This is for safety reasons and for insurance purposes. Any unsupervised activity is not covered by the University's athletic insurance policy.

Athletic training staff coverage of practices can only be accomplished with appropriate notification.  Coaches should make every effort to keep the athletic training staff informed of changes in schedule. Please try to call and/or leave a message.  Notification through athletic training students or student athletes will not be accepted.   Athletic training room personnel will cover all scheduled practices ONLY AFTER 24 HOURS notification. Weekend practices will be covered after (2) day's (48 hours) notification.  Notifications respecting these time limitations will guarantee athletic training room personnel coverage.

If an athletic team has not showed up by the time practice is scheduled to start then the student and supervising athletic trainer will assume they were not notified of a schedule change and leave.

Coverage by the athletic training staff and/or athletic training students will be determined by the potential risk for injury associated with that particular sport, in season or out of season status, and staff availability.

Lightning Safety

Decisions to remove teams or individuals from practice activities will be made by the certified athletic trainers on staff.  In absence of a certified athletic trainer individual sport coaches will have to use their best judgment taking into account the guidelines set forth here.

Decisions to remove teams or individuals from athletic competition or events will be made by the certified athletic trainer in conjunction with the athletic director and with the cooperation of the officials. 

Suspension of Play/Practice Guidelines:

Millersville University has subscribed to the DTN Weather Sentry Alert System. This system is used by the NCAA for all outdoor championship competitions across the nation. Alerts are sent via email or text message to subscribers to notify of severe weather and lightning. Lightning alerts will be received for the first strike within a 20 mile radius, a 10 mile radius, and a 8 mile radius of the University. Upon notification of a strike within 8 miles, play/practice must be suspended, the athletic training staff will monitor the storm via DTN's Weather Sentry Site, and NCAA guidelines will be used for safe return to competition.

The Weather Sentry System will notify you when it has been 30 minutes after the last lightning flash within 8 miles.  At that time it is safe to resume activities.

If there is not access to the Weather Sentry system, the following are recommendations for ways to proceed. As a minimum, National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) and the NCAA recommend that by the time the monitor obtain a flash-to-bang count of 30 seconds; all individuals should leave the athletic site and go to a safe structure or location.

When considering resumption of an athletics activity, NSSL staff recommends that ideally everyone should wait 30 minutes after the last flash of lightning or sound of thunder before returning to the field or activity.

Guidelines for Lightning Safety:  

1. Know where the closest "safe structure or location" is to the field or playing area, and know how long it takes to get to that safe area. Safe structure or location is defined as:

a. Any building normally occupied or frequently used by people, i.e., a building with plumbing and/or electrical wiring that acts to electrically ground the structure. Avoid using shower facilities for safe shelter and do not use the showers or plumbing during a thunderstorm.
b. In the absence of a sturdy, frequently inhabited building, any vehicle with a hard metal roof (not a convertible or golf cart) and rolled up windows can provide a measure of safety. A vehicle is certainly better than remaining outdoors. It is not the rubber tires that make a vehicle a safe shelter, but the metal roof, which dissipates the lightning strike around the vehicle. DO NOT TOUCH THE SIDES OF THE VEHICLE. 

2. Be aware of how close lightning is occurring. The flash-to-bang method is the easiest. To use this method count the seconds from the time lightning is sighted to when the clap of thunder is heard. Divide this number by five to obtain how far away (in miles) the lightning is occurring.  

3. If no safe structure or location is within a reasonable distance, find a thick grove of small trees surrounded by taller trees or a dry ditch. Assume a crouched position on the ground with only the balls of the feet touching the ground, wrap your arms around your knees and lower your head. Minimize your body's surface area, and minimize contact with the ground. Do not lie flat.

4. If unable to reach safe shelter, stay away from the tallest trees or objects (such as light poles or flagpoles), metal objects (such as fences or bleachers), individual trees, standing pools of water and open fields. Avoid being the highest object in a field. Do not take shelter under a single, tall tree.

5. A person who feels his or her hair stand on end, or skin tingle, should immediately crouch, as described in item 4.

6. Observe the following basic first aid procedures in managing victims of a lightning strike.

Survey the scene for safety.
Activate local EMS.
Lightening victims do not carry a ‘charge' and are safe to touch.
If necessary, move the victim with care to a safe location.
Evaluate airway, breathing, circulation, and begin CPR if necessary.
Evaluate and treat for hypothermia, shock, fractures and/or burns.

7. All individuals have the right to leave an athletic site in order to seek a safe structure if the person feels in danger of impending lightening activity, without fear of repercussions or penalty from anyone.