Lightning isn’t a joke for the Emergency Management Director for Tulsa Public Schools, Bob Roberts.
“The biggest threat is that bolt out of the blue,” said Roberts,
Lightning kills 73 people every year. Roberts said his main goal is to keep students, staff and coaches safe while they are on campus or on the sports field.
“Lighting is one of the most dangerous threats, especially in an open field,” said Roberts.
Two years ago TPS installed a lightning prediction device called Thor Guard at all nine TPS high schools, the Education Service Center and Transportation Headquarters.
TPS is one of three high school districts in the nation that use the system.
When the threat of lightening moves within two miles of the school an alarm siren sounds, which signals players to evacuate the playing field. Thor Guard can predict lighting from up to 25 miles away.
Athletic Director for Hale High School, Tammy Altaffer, said the Thor Guard system has given her confidence that players and fans safety is being monitored. The first weekend in September she received a lightning warning during a Hale football game.
“With Thor Guard we get that siren before we see lightning so it gives us a window to get the kids moving,” said Altaffer.
An eight to ten minute lead on lightning means everything to Tammy; it’s the safety of her students.
“When you are waiting for visible lightning and you see it, your kids are already in danger,” said Altaffer.
Finishing out a quarter or getting in one more play is not an option if a Thor Guard alert is sent. “Legally for you to do it, you have to adhere to those alerts,” said Altaffer.
Another siren is signaled when the threat of lightening is gone. The game or practice may not resume until thirty minutes after that siren sounded.
Roberts said the Thor Guard helps to bring assurance about safety.
“It’s as important as our tornado drills and as important as our fire drills,” said Roberts.
TPS The system is monitored from the control center at the Campus Police Station.
For more information about Thor Guard Lightning Prediction Device click here: http://www.thorguard.com/