Feature Article - August 2008
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Safety First

Proactive Approaches Prevent Problems

By Dana Carman


Managing risk boils down to a few essential key points:

  • Rigorously train staff to understand safety and be accountable for it.
  • Be vigilant in enforcing current safety policies and review them often for improvements.
  • Educate the participating public on personal responsibility.

The best defense against risk is a strong offense. Acknowledge and accept those risks, and reap the rewards of recreation.

Why Find Out If Lightning Strikes Twice?

Nothing clears a field faster than the sight of lightning. Impending storms blow up, rains may fall, but when the bolts begin, you want your people out of range, and fast. This couldn't be more true than in the state of Florida. Yes, it's the Sunshine State but it's also got a reputation for being the world's lightning capital (though Rwanda is apparently the true capital says NASA).

That's a competition it would be nice to be last in, but Florida doesn't have that luxury so the city of Weston isn't taking any chances. Its fields are protected by a lightning prediction system, which, simply put, uses a sensor and computer to measure and analyze the electrostatic field in the atmosphere, where lightning originates, to predict occurrence rather than detect it after the fact. A loud warning sound lets people know lightning is in the area and that they should take shelter. The devices are commonly used by airlines, ski areas, golf tournaments and other companies managing outdoor pursuits.