“Bergen County started investing in lightning detection systems following the deaths in 2006 of two teenagers on a Montvale soccer field.”
- ‘Lightning detection systems becoming standard for North Jersey fields‘
from The Bergen Record, Sunday, July 25, 2010
… one life can make a difference. (Thank you, Lee Weisbrod and Steve Fagan.)
Yesterday my area of Bergen County received not one but two lengthy and powerful thunderstorms both of which made me want to crawl in bed and hide for their duration.
Unfortunately, the first canceled a trip to the beach that my family had planned for the day. Luckily, we didn’t suffer an attack from Mother Nature, like one local family did.
About 10 minutes away in the neighboring town of Emerson, one family awoke on Monday morning to a small fire and leaving a gaping hole of about 6 inches in their one-family home’s attached garage. The cause: a lightning bolt strike.
Read the full story here:
With a flash of light, this semester at Rowan University has come to an end. With winter break on the horizon followed by my last semester before graduating in May, I have become very reflective.
In my time at Rowan, I have been introduced to many diverse elements of journalism; however, this online journalism course has been one of the most influential.
I am grateful for the opportunity to not only further grieve for the loss of my best friend, Lee Weisbrod, but also for the opportunity to educate the public on lightning, the underrated killer.
Due to the overwhelming interest in lightning detection and safety throughout Bergen County, I will be continuing my blog in order to further educate and provide information as long as it is available.
While blog posts will not continue two times a week, as per part of my class assignment, they will steadily continue – so continue checking back for the newest information regarding lightning in the Bergen County area.
Every year school districts are threatened by severe weather including lightning, which puts students and faculty in jeopardy.
Without an appropriate weather alert system, students and faculty are playing a guessing game with Mother Nature. While many Bergen County schools are equipped with lightning detectors on their campuses, not all are – which is a main concern.
Rick Thompson, Lightning Protection Coordinator of Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, Florida, is an advocate of keeping students and faculty safe.
“I always wondered why someone didn’t do something and then I realized I was someone,” said Thompson, a lightning strike victim on the NWS Lightning Safety Success Stories website.
Schools have to be aware of how to react in situations where lightning is present. It is essential that schools adopt a training program.
According to Thompson, training in school settings should include:
- Lightning safety videos produced for all ages to understand and be part of a scheduled educational cirriculum.
- Lightning safety and CPR certification courses should be mandatory for coaches and others in charge of outdoor events/activities.
- Educational organizations should have a certified Lightning Safety Professional to implement and maintain a lightning safety program.
Many schools across the nation are taking steps to implement lightning safety initiatives.
Loudoun County Schools in Virginia and Broward County Schools in Florida are just two school systems in the country that are taking that next step.
The lightning detection system in Woodcliff Lake has been both installed and tested as of recently.
In addition to installing the system, Woodcliff Lake has passed a town ordinance which declares that everyone must immediately get off the field if the system is activated.
Citizens will know the system is activated when a lightning strike within 8 miles sets off the siren. The siren will be activated every 30 seconds accompanied by flashing strobes.
An ‘all clear’ sign will be given when it is safe to return to the sports fields/recreation areas. The ‘all clear’ sign will consist of a different sounding siren.
This system is very similar to other systems installed in surrounding Bergen County towns.
Numerous mayors, recreation facilities administrators, and town officials have informed me of their plans to install lightning detection or have informed me of existing lightning detection systems.
Here’s a quick update -
Recently Mahwah placed a bid on lightning detection equipment which will add Mahwah to the growing list of Bergen County towns with lightning protection in place.
The bid for Mahwah’s lightning detection will be awarded November 13 (this Thursday), according to Mayor Richard Martel.
Once the bid is awarded, Mahwah will begin the installation process. The detection systems will be installed at the township pool in addition to other recreational areas.
Check back in the coming days for more information regarding Mahwah’s lightning initiative.
When lightning strikes, a life can be drastically changed. This was the case for me in July of 2006 when my best friend, Lee Weisbrod, was struck by lightning and passed away. Check out my map that shows the area in Bergen County where the lightning strike occurred in addition to immediate surrounding towns that have lightning detection systems installed to prevent another tragedy from happening.
Filed under map, News, Personal