Monthly Archives: May 2012

Sorry, The Indoor Pool Is Closed Due to Lightning

My “me time” often consists of either working out at the gym (addicted!) or reading fitness/health blogs. I consider Peanut Butter Fingers, The Fitnessista, Bess Be Fit, Sweet Tooth Sweet Life, Healthy Tipping Point and Squats and Squash my friends (just like in real life when I invite friends to a “party,” I’m sure I’m “forgetting” someone).

While reading Healthy Tipping Point blogger Caitlin Boyle‘s post “Thwarted,” I was surprised to read: And then we get there and – BAM! – the (indoor) pool is closed because of lightening (??).

And, that got me thinking about lightning and indoor aquatics safety…

The Facts:

(* These “facts” were found via “Lightning and Aquatics Safety: A Cautionary Perspective for Indoor Pools” and their noted references.)

“There is a built-in conflict between indoor pool activities and lightning safety. Both recreational swimming and competitive swimming events are based upon three icons of Entertainment, Health, and Pleasure. Lightning safety is founded on stopping all those forms of enjoyment,” according to President & CEO Richard Kithil of National Lightning Safety Institute.

Tom Griffiths and Matthew Griffith see the situation differently – “The truth is, the practice of clearing indoor pools during outside thunderstorms does not keep people safe and, in many cases, may put them in higher-risk situations.”

In their article, “When Lightning Strikes: Should you close your indoor pool when lightning approaches? The answer may surprise you,” Griffiths and Griffith outlines the higher-risk situations pool-goers experience when their indoor pool is closed due to a storm.

High Risk Situations Due to Indoor Pool Closures:

  • When an indoor pool is cleared, guests go to the locker rooms, where they shower before changing. There have been numerous cases of reported shocks and electrocutions of people in showers and bathtubs or at sinks washing their hands. Just standing near metallic plumbing systems and metallic drainage systems carries the possibility of shock (actual documented cases).
  • There are inevitably children who need to call for a ride home. Again, there are reports every year of people injured from being shocked while using landline telephones. (This is the mechanism most frequently used by lightning to enter a building.) Even if these practices are banned and monitored, people are still allowed to leave the facility.
  • In 98 percent (44 out of 45) of the fatalities attributed to lightning in the United States during 2007, the people were outside. When people leave the facility and run across the parking lot to their car, they are exposed to a direct strike. Car accidents increase as well during thunderstorms due to hazardous road conditions. It is clear that closing indoor pools actually puts people at higher risk of being injured by lightning than allowing them to keep swimming.

The bottom line: People come to an indoor swimming facility to have fun and exercise and it’s nearly impossible to eliminate all risk associated with pools without also eliminating the numerous benefits associated with them.

 

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The Record: ‘For families that lose a child’

It’s been an honor keeping Lee Weisbrod‘s memory alive. It’s also an honor to be recognized for a hobby that continues to touch so many people…be sure to read today’s front page news story, “For families that lose a child, ‘a part of you dies’,” in The Record…you may see someone you know featured. 😉

And, a special hello to my new visitors…whether you found me through The Record article or some other avenue, I’m glad you’re here. Be sure to stay awhile, learn something and, of course, say hello!

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What I’m Reading

No matter what news source I’m reading, my brain and eyes immediately register “lightning strike.” It’s without fail the first click I make with my mouse. Today, I stumbled upon an article titled “Edwards County man struck by lightning while sleeping” featured on KSAT.com, which was featured CNN U.S.‘s homepage.

Apparently, Cheval Silva was struck by lightning while soundly sleeping in his house. The article reads, “A bolt of lightning had come through the roof and struck his shoulder and exited his foot, catching both him and his favorite chair on fire.”

Luckily for Silva, and his granddaughter who was sleeping nearby and unharmed, he only sustained some nerve damage.

Articles such as this have been featured on the blog from time to time. They always get me thinking why some live while others die from a lightning strike. There’s no rhyme or reason…the only comfort I’ve received, to this day, is to think those who have died from a lightning strike had bigger plans in store “upstairs.” Yup, I’m going with that.

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