Albany stadium uses new technology to keep fans safe from lightning - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany stadium uses new technology to keep fans safe from lightning

September 2, 2003

Albany -- Several South Georgia high school football games were cancelled or delayed because of lightning Friday night. Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany used its their lightning detector to keep teams and fans safe.

Lightning is the second most dangerous weather phenomenon in the United States. Fans and players in an open stadium are highly exposed to the dangers of lightning. That's why Hugh Mills Stadium bought this piece of equipment called Sky Scan.

Dougherty County Schools Athletic Director Johnny Seabrooks said "We use this as a guideline, not as the final judgement. But it detects lightning flashes from 0 to 40 miles."

While fans are enjoying football, Stadium authorities stay in close touch with airport personnel watching doppler radar. It's not perfect, but they keep a close eye on storms to protect the people in the stadium. Seabrooks said "Lightning can come up so quickly, and this will help guard against a sudden storm catching us by surprise."

The National Federation on High School Sports required all it's member stadiums to draw up an evacuation plan, to clear a stadium quickly in case of emergency. Seabrooks said "We will move the athletes to the locker room. We will evacuate the stands, asking the fans to go their cars."

 Lightning is a danger. Thursday afternoon one of the scoreboards at Hugh Mills was struck. Stadium authority members have taken steps they can to make sure no one gets hit.

Lightning kills 100 people in the United States per year and injures more than 500.

posted at 3:56 PM by jimw@walb.com