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.
“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.
The WeatherBug Protect system sends custom alerts from the WeatherBug Network along with severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service to the Spring GPS-enabled phones that are in possession of the school staff.
According to Wayde Byard, Public Informational Officer of Loudoun County Schools, tornado drills and basic lightning safety is integrated into their curriculum in addition to using the WeatherBug Protect system.
Since Broward County and Loudoun County’s implementation of the weather-alerting system, others have jumped on board. Others that are using the system are: Jefferson Parish Public Schools in Louisiana, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Football League (NFL).
Perhaps Bergen County school districts will be next on the list.