(L - R) Jeff Gilbert and Cheryl Watts, Georgia Tech Athletic Association; Lans Rothfusz, MIC NWS Peachtree City; William Smith and Andy Altizer, Georgia Tech. Emergency Preparedness (Photo: Georgia Tech.)
(Feb. 10, 2011) -- Georgia Tech football fans have something new to cheer about. Officials at the team's home field - Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta - have developed a lightning safety plan for large outdoor venues based on the National Weather Service's new lightning safety toolkit.
Home to Georgia Tech football games for nearly 100 years, the historic sports facility is now safer for the nearly 60,000 patrons who gather there with the distinction of being the nation's first stadium to earn this achievement.
The volunteer program is part of a National Weather Service lightning safety campaign for large outdoor venues.
The stadium's lightning safety plan includes a locally run lightning detection system on site, a written lightning safety plan with specific instructions for contacting local emergency management officials and the National Weather Service, procedures to notify patrons that a lightning threat exists, an emergency operations plan to evacuate the venue and identify locations of available shelters and a way to advise patrons of lightning safety procedures and the appropriate response to a lightning threat.
Safety managers of large outdoor venues are welcomed and encouraged to use the National Weather Service lightning safety toolkit to develop a lightning safety plan. The toolkit is available at: http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/resources/large_venue.pdf.
"This toolkit offers outdoor venue managers a great opportunity to develop new plans or enhance existing plans for severe weather," said Charlie Woodrum, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "Georgia Tech sets a great example of how universities throughout the nation can benefit from the toolkit."
"The threat of lightning-related injuries or fatalities to sports fans in large outdoor venues is a growing concern for all of us," said Lans Rothfusz, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service forecast office in Atlanta. "This program is designed to help reduce the risk through improved preparedness on the part of event staff and emergency managers and increased public awareness of the hazards associated with thunderstorms and lightning." For more information on lightning safety, visit: http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.