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Fairbanks Youth Soccer Association

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Youth Soccer Info for Lightning Safety Outdoors

We will only cancel games when, on site at the field complex, there is lightning visible WITH accompanying thunder less than 30 seconds after. We do not make this call until closer to game time. If this occurs during scheduled matches, then all activities are immediately suspended (rescheduled for a later date when possible). Such a cancellation only applies to the current time slot of games as conditions may improve for the later hour. We will email affected teams and post on Facebook any time there is a cancellation. If you don't hear that there is a cancellation, assume games are still on.

Coaches should follow the above policy as well for practices. However, because the only group affected by a change in practice plans is that specific team, coaches/parents can have a lower threshold for when to not hold their planned practices.

Each year, about 400 children and adults in the U.S. are struck by lightning while working outside, at sports events, on the beach, mountain climbing, mowing the lawn or during other outdoor activities. About 80 people are killed and several hundred more are left to cope with permanent disabilities. Many of these tragedies can be avoided. Finishing the game, getting a tan, or completing a work shift aren't worth death or crippling injury.
· All thunderstorms produce lightning and are dangerous. Lightning kills more people each year than tornadoes.
· Lightning often strikes as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall. Many deaths from lightning occur ahead of the storm because people try and wait to the last minute before seeking shelter.
· You are in danger from lightning if you can hear thunder. If you can hear thunder, lightning is close enough that it could strike your location at any moment.
· Lightning injuries can lead to permanent disabilities or death. On average, 20% of strike victims die; 70% of survivors suffer serious long term effects.
· Look for dark cloud bases and increasing wind. Every flash of lightning is dangerous, even the first. Head to safety before that first flash. If you hear thunder, head to safety!
· Blue Skies and Lightning. Lightning can travel sideways for up to 10 miles. Even when the sky looks blue and clear, be cautious. If you hear thunder, take cover. At least 10% of lightning occurs without visible clouds in the sky.
The Single Most Dangerous Place
Outdoors is the most dangerous place to be during a lightning storm. When lightning is seen or thunder is heard, or when dark clouds are observed, quickly move indoors or into a hard-topped vehicle and remain there until well after the lightning storm ends. Listen to forecasts and warnings through NOAA Weather Radio or your local TV and radio stations. If lightning is forecast, plan an alternate activity or know where you can take cover quickly.
The U.S. lightning season is summer but lightning can strike year round! The Fourth of July is historically one of the most deadly times of the year for lightning. In summer, more people are outside, on the beach, golf course, mountains or ball fields. Outdoor jobs such as construction and agriculture, and outdoor chores such as lawn mowing or house painting are at their peak, putting those involved in danger.
Safety Rules
1. Postpone activities promptly. Don't wait for rain. Many people take shelter from the rain, but most people struck by lightning are not in the rain! Go quickly inside a completely enclosed building, not a carport, open garage or covered patio. If no enclosed building is convenient, get inside a hard-topped all-metal vehicle. A cave is a good option outside but move as far as possible from the cave entrance.
2. Be the lowest point. Lightning hits the tallest object. In the mountains if you are above tree line, you ARE the highest object around. Quickly get below tree line and get into a grove of small trees. Don't be the second tallest object during a lightning storm! Crouch down if you are in an exposed area.
3. Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of lightning, or increasing wind, which may be signs of an approaching thunderstorm.
4. Listen for the sound of thunder. If you can hear thunder, go to a safe shelter immediately.
5. If you see or hear a thunderstorm coming or your hair stands on end, immediately suspend your game or practice and instruct everyone to go inside a sturdy building or car. Sturdy buildings are the safest place to be. Avoid sheds, picnic shelters, baseball dugouts, and bleachers. If no sturdy building is nearby, a hard-top vehicle with windows closed will offer some protection. The steel frame of the vehicle provides some protection if you are not touching metal.
6. Listen to NOAA Weather Radio. Coaches and other leaders should listen for a tone-alert feature during practice sessions and games.
7. If you can't get to a shelter, stay away from trees. If there is no shelter, crouch in the open, keeping twice as far away from a tree as it is tall.
8. Avoid leaning against vehicles. Get off bicycles and motorcycles.
9. Get out of the water. It's a great conductor of electricity. Stay off the beach and out of small boats or canoes. If caught in a boat, crouch down in the center of the boat away from metal hardware. Swimming, wading, snorkeling and scuba diving are NOT safe. Lightning can strike the water and travel some distance beneath and away from its point of contact. Don’t stand in puddles of water, even if wearing rubber boots.
10. Avoid metal! Drop metal backpacks, stay away from clothes lines, fences, exposed sheds and electrically conductive elevated objects. Don't hold on to metal items such golf clubs, fishing rods, tennis rackets or tools. Large metal objects can conduct lightning. Small metal objects can cause burns.
11. Move away from a group of people. Stay several yards away from other people. Don't share a bleacher bench or huddle in a group.
What to do if someone is struck by lightning:
· Call for help. Call 9-1-1 or your local ambulance service. Get medical attention as quickly as possible.
· Give first aid. If the victim has stopped breathing, begin rescue breathing. If the heart has stopped beating, a trained person should give CPR. If the person has a pulse and is breathing, address any other injuries.
· Check for burns in two places. The injured person has received an electric shock and may be burned. Being struck by lightning can also cause nervous system damage, broken bones, and loss of hearing or eyesight. People struck by lightning carry no electrical charge that can shock other people. You can examine them without risk.
Stay Informed About the Storm
Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local media for the latest severe thunderstorm WATCHES and WARNINGS. Severe thunderstorms are those storms with winds in excess of 58 mph or hail larger than 3/4 inches in diameter. When conditions are favorable for severe weather to develop, a severe thunderstorm WATCH is issued.
Weather Service personnel use information from weather radar, satellite, lightning detection, spotters, and other sources to issue severe thunderstorm WARNINGS for areas where severe weather is imminent. Remember, however, that ALL thunderstorms produce deadly lightning.
For more information visit the National Weather Service web site at

Soccer and Inclement Weather

Please read through the info below regarding soccer in inclement weather. We still play in the rain but there are specific guidelines regarding lightning. If the night is cold and wet but games are not cancelled, players are welcome to bundle up with warmer clothing underneath their uniform. Please do not wear jackets or other outwear that has hard/metal components. If wearing a hoodie please tuck the hood in to avoid any potential snagging. Soft ski cap type headwear or head bands may be worn. Players may also wear sweats or athletic pants provided shinguards are still worn and covered. 


Policy #21 Risk Management
a. OBJECTIVE: To categorize the natural risks facing soccer youth and describe the organization’s risk mitigation strategies.
i. Preventing injury from electrical storms: FYSA shall adhere to a practice of canceling soccer activities whenever lightning is visible in the atmosphere and the associated thunderclap occurs in less than 30 seconds. In such instances, games are immediately cancelled and all individuals should seek shelter. Cancelled games are not resumed after a waiting period, however games that take place later in the evening may still be held if lightning has subsided.
ii. Preventing injury from airborne particulate: FYSA shall adhere to the practice of cancelling outdoor soccer activities whenever the Air Quality Index is at a rating of Unhealthy or worse. AQI information will be obtained via established borough, state and federal websites, as well as on-site at the FYSA field complex using available air quality monitoring equipment. This data will be used for reference, with ultimate decisions being made by FYSA staff on-site. Game cancellation decisions will be made and communicated to members in the 4 o’clock hour for all scheduled games that night. 
iii. Preventing injury from adverse winter weather conditions: FYSA shall adhere to a practice of canceling soccer activities on days whenever the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District cancels classes.
iv. It is important to note that when soccer activities have been cancelled for any nature-related risk management purposes as outlined above, any players, teams, coaches, etc. that elect to hold their own events are doing so at their own risk. Such activities are not FYSA-sanctioned and thus are not covered under program insurance.


Additional Info About Weather, Air Quality, Lightning and Safety:
While games are still played in rainy or hot weather, there are some situations that may result in the cancellation or delay or games. These are typically limited to lightning and air quality. In most cases, determination regarding the cancellation of matches will be withheld as long as possible, in case conditions improve. FYSA will make every effort to make such decisions, and communicate them to all families, coaches, referees, etc. no later than one hour before a scheduled match. In some circumstances, games may be cancelled earlier in the day if conditions are bad enough and/or have little to no chance of improving in time for games. Communications will be sent out in as many ways possible (email, text alerts, Facebook, website, phone calls and signage at the fields). There may be times where matches begin as normal, but must be cancelled during the course of play if conditions become unsafe. At these times, FYSA staff will attempt to quickly patrol the field complex alerting all participants of the situation. Due to the schedule of the summer, cancelled matches may not be rescheduled, but if feasible, they will!

Just one death, or injury, of a youth from lightning during soccer matches is too many and no game is worth such consequences. Across the US each year, there are a small number of soccer related tragedies that could have been avoided. If lightning is observed nearby before or during a match, we must exercise caution. Specific numbers of seconds to count or other concrete guidelines are helpful, but not necessarily scientific. The faintest of flashes barely visible in the distance may be no cause for alarm. However, because of the size of our complex, the distance from some fields to a family’s parked car and the time it takes to wrap everything up, the time to decide that lightning is posing a danger is not when it is already upon us. If lightning is observed nearby, play should be stopped and families should return to their vehicles. This will typically result in the end of the match and families should return to the safety of home. Referees and FYSA staff have the authority to stop matches for such reasons. Coaches are encouraged to be involved in the monitoring of unsafe conditions and should communicate with referees if they observe lightning nearby that perhaps was unnoticed by the official. The safety of all participants is our primary concern and we want to err on the side of caution. 

Winter Weather and Gym Reservations for Soccer Activities

The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District has communicated its policies regarding our gym reservations and winter weather. Please read through these guidelines and contact FYSA with any specific questions.

Inclement weather does not automatically cancel our gym reservations and soccer activities. However, coaches and parents are always encouraged to exercise caution and we support any decisions they make to cancel a practice on a weeknight, even if the district has not cancelled them. The safety of our youth is always our top priority.

One of the biggest factors that affect our gym times is school custodial staff presence. In general, if CLASSES have been cancelled by the district, our gym reservations for that night will also be cancelled. HOWEVER, If only after-school activities have been cancelled by a specific school or the district in general, custodial staff should still be present in the evenings and thus the buildings should be open for our reservations. 

There may be circumstances where a gym is still cancelled due to a school's custodial staff being unable to travel to their location. But in general the above guidelines have been outlined for us to help answer the question of 'Do we still play when....?' Additionally, Saturday gym times are rarely cancelled. If we lose a weeknight of gym times, due to the complicated nature of scheduling all the locations each week, make up nights are typically not possible. However, in the rare event of Saturday game cancellations, FYSA will make every effort to reschedule these matches in a later week or at the end of the session.

In all cases, FYSA will make every effort to communicate any changes regarding any and all schools and the teams affected. This may be done by updating THIS page, posting on Facebook, email and/or phone calls to specific coaches, who then pass the information on to families. For any after-hours 'soccer emergencies' such as building access or discrepencies between information you encounter, feel free to contact us during office hours at 907-456-3972 or 907-987-6334 ouside of those times. Thank you for looking out for our youth's safety and thank you for being part of our soccer community.


Fairbanks Youth Soccer Association

PO Box 73915 
Fairbanks, Alaska 99707

Phone: 907-456-3972
Email: [email protected]

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