Lightning Disturbance Policy

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The City of Fairfax Parks and Recreation Department would like to remind all of our park patrons of the proper guidelines for staying safe during lighting disturbances. All organizations that are permitted should follow their specific safety guidelines which incorporate the department recommended guidelines. However, the following is a default guideline if you, your family or your organization does not have safety guidelines in place. If you have any questions about safety in our parks, please call 703.385.7858 or email


Lightning Disturbance Policy

1. It is strongly recommended that all park patrons wait at least 30 minutes after all lightning and thunder activity has stopped before resuming scholastic athletics activity.

2. Avoid using the restroom sinks and toilet facilities for safe shelter.

3. Stay away from the tallest trees or lone objects (such as light poles or flagpoles), metal objects (such as metal fences or metal benches/bleachers), individual trees, standing pools of water, and open fields.

4. Avoid being the highest object in a field, and do not take shelter under a single, tall tree.

5. Pay much more attention to the lightning threat than to the rain. Lightning can strike far from the rain shaft.

6. If there is no safe shelter within a reasonable distance away, crouch in a thick grove of small trees surrounded by taller trees, or in a dry ditch. Assume a crouched position on the ground with only the balls of your feet touching the ground, wrap your arms around your knees and lower your head. Minimize your body’s surface area, and minimize contact with the ground. Do not lie flat!

7. If a person feels his or her hair stand on end, or their skin tingle, immediately crouch, as described in item 6.

8. Do not use the telephone, except in emergency situations.

9. Lightning strike victims do not carry an electrical charge. Therefore, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is safe for the responder. Lightning strike victims who show signs of cardiac or respiratory arrest need prompt emergency help. Prolonged and aggressive CPR is highly effective for the survival of many victims of lightning strike.

10. ALL spectators, competitors, and personnel should go inside the nearest building as quickly as possible. A vehicle with a metal roof (not a convertible) and the windows rolled up is a safe alternative to a sturdy building.

11. DO NOT take shelter under gazebos, pavilions, trees or other tall, lone objects.

12. DO NOT remain on, under, or near metal benches/bleachers or metal fences.

13. Lastly, any individual who feels he or she is in danger of any lightning activity should have the right to leave the field or event site to seek safe shelter.