Swimming Pool Safety Procedures During Lightning Storms
Summer is the most dangerous time of year for deaths and injuries due to lightning strikes. Outdoor swimming pools are especially vulnerable: though pools are typically built to be grounded, direct strikes happen and are a persistent danger. Kids safety is paramount, what do you do when a lightning storm threatens while you are in the pool? Here are summer safety tips for the water to keep in mind when the thunder and lightning come:
- As soon as you see lightning or hear thunder, get everyone out of the pool and away from pool structures (showers, changing rooms, filter/pump room, etc.). Indoors, in the largest nearby home or building, is the best place to wait out a storm.
- Use the standard flash-to-bang count to determine distance from the storm and if it’s getting closer. Count in one-second increments, each five-count equals one mile. In all cases where flash-to-bang is less than a 30-count, evacuate the pool area.
- Make certain the entire pool area is clear. Pools are connected underground to a much larger surface area via pipes, construction, and electrical wiring, all of which can conduct the charge from a lightning strike and endanger adjacent areas.
- If a suitable structure is not available, a hard-topped vehicle is the best alternative.
- Lack of rain, blue sky, and/or sunshine are not guarantees against lightning. Do not return to the pool until at least 30 minutes after the last lightning is sighted or thunder heard. Check the radio or online for weather service warnings to make certain all is clear.
The “30-30 Rule” is an effective rule of thumb for kids safety: evacuate the pool if the flash-to-bang count is under 30, do not return until 30 minutes have elapsed since the last thunder or lightning.