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Black Hills Rapids Soccer Club

Black Hills Rapids Soccer Club


Severe Weather Policy and Guidelines

The Black Hills Rapids Soccer Club's mission promotes fun, family soccer, including a safe playing environment for all participants. Certain weather conditions can pose risk. Proper planning assures that potential emergency situations are appropriately addressed. This page provides basic guidelines for Black Hills Rapids volunteers and organizers in dealing with severe weather conditions.

Education, training and effective communication are the most important means to achieving safety for all participants. BHR event organizers — officials, volunteers, managers, coaches, referees and others in a position of authority or responsibility — must ensure that general BHR safety practices and guidelines plus those that are unique to the local community and playing facility are understood and applied whenever there is a potential for severe weather conditions.

Some of the most common severe weather conditions are:

  • Hot Weather — risks of dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke, sunburns
  • Cold Weather — hypothermia
  • Tornado Warnings and Watches
  • Lightning and Thunderstorms
  • Flood/Flash Flood

Hot Weather

When temperatures and humidity rise above normal levels, the potential for risk rises. Be aware of these dangers and be prepared to stop or delay games to ensure proper hydration. Allow for frequent water stoppages in addition to substitution stoppages. Incidents of dehydration, heat exhaustion, heatstroke and sunburn are avoidable. The proper and continued hydration of players and volunteers is essential, and should start at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled event. 

Sunscreen of appropriate strength should be applied frequently. Plenty of shade should be provided to participants by trees, tents or buildings. Scheduling of games outside of the hottest part of the day, whenever possible, is preferred. When scheduling multiple games in a day or over several days when conducting tournaments, it is recommended that there are at least two hours between games and only two games per day for players is strongly recommended — unless the playing time is reduced.

Cold Weather

Risk of hypothermia, frostbite and injury from numbness are avoidable. Freezing rain, hail, snow, sleet or heavy rain can cause field conditions to deteriorate rapidly. Players’ loss of solid footing can cause severe injury.

  • BHRSC will monitor temperature and wind chill reports, delaying or canceling games when the weather is cold enough that players can be adversely affected by it.
  • BHRSC will check field conditions before and during games, delaying or canceling games if severe weather conditions cause the field to become unsafe for participants.
  • Players will be permitted to wear appropriate and safe clothing (extra garments under the jersey and shorts, knit hats and gloves, etc.) to protect against cold and windy weather conditions.

Tornado Warnings and Watches

Tornadoes are possible in the area; remain alert for approaching storm.

A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.

  • Upon notification of a tornado warning, all activities and events will be cancelled until weather conditions and field conditions allow the activity to resume.
  • If a tornado warning is issued for your area, move to a pre-designated place of safety.

Recognizing the Danger — And Knowing What to Do

Look out for dark, often greenish skies, and a wall cloud, large hail and loud roar similar to a freight train. 

  • If a warning is issued and you are indoors, stay away from windows and move to an interior room or hallway or the lowest floor; get under a sturdy piece of furniture if possible. 
  • At the fields or en route, get out of automobiles, trailers or camping type vehicles. Seek safety in a solid structure, preferably in a basement or in an interior room. 
  • If no building is available, lay down in a ditch.

Lightning and Thunderstorms

A lightning safety plan is an integral part of any outdoor event. BHRSC will not wait for storm clouds to develop before considering what to do should lightning threaten! An effective plan begins LONG before any lightning threat is realized.

  • Event officials will closely monitor area weather conditions to determine the course of action in the event of thunderstorms — give the “all clear” sign for games to resume, cancel the balance of ongoing games or cancel games for the day.
  • Event administrators, Coaches, Referee Administrator or Referees, will have the authority, as so designated, to delay the start of play, call a halt in play or suspend/terminate a game due to severe weather conditions.
  • In tournament play or other special events, if there is a possibility of thunder and lightning storms, a pre-event meeting to assure that guidelines, safety procedures, duties and responsibilities are reviewed and clearly understood by all event staff and participants will be conducted. If this is not possible, then a communication plan should be incorporated to ensure this information is given to all participants and volunteers to ensure safe and orderly execution of emergency planning procedures.

Recognizing the Danger — And Knowing What to Do

  • When a storm warning indicates severe weather danger, all field activities will be canceled and participants will be asked to seek shelter immediately.
  • Heed all warnings even if you are told there is a possibility of a false alarm.
  • When thunder is heard it is within striking distance – seek shelter immediately. Do not wait.
  • Only take time to retrieve essential items such as purses, baby bags, car keys, etc. Delays retrieving all personal belongings raise the risk of danger.
  • Do not wait for the rain to start before seeking shelter, and do not leave shelter just because the rain has ended. Wait for the all clear signal from event officials.
  • Games will restart after no thunder has been heard for 30 minutes.

Distinguishing Between Safe and Unsafe Shelters

Safe Shelter Areas

  • INSIDE a substantial building (roof AND completely enclosed walls) towards the middle of the building
  • Except for tornadoes, INSIDE a fully enclosed metal vehicle with the windows completely closed.

Unsafe Shelter Areas

  • Around or near all metal objects: goals, flag poles, fences, gates, high mast light poles, bleachers.
  • Around or near all trees, water, open fields, high ground.
  • Around, near or in small buildings, picnic shelters, concession stands, tents.

If Caught Out in the Open

  • Seek shelter indoors if possible.
  • AVOID groups of people. Spread out to reduce the risk. Shield children.
  • AVOID being the tallest object.
  • Seek cover in clumps of bushes. CROUCH down as low as possible and cover your head with your forearms; assist children as they will most often be frightened.

If Someone is Injured

  • Call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • If qualified to do so, apply CPR and First Aid, if necessary, until medical staff arrives.
  • All safety personnel should be educated on what and when to act or react in severe weather conditions.

    NOTE: People who have been struck by lightning do not carry a charge and are safe to touch.

Flood/Flash Flood

Flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area.

Flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.

  • Event officials will monitor conditions and listen to area radio and television stations and a NOAA Weather Radio for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress or other critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).

Recognizing the Danger — And Knowing What to Do

Conditions that cause floods include heavy or steady rain for several hours or days that saturates the ground. Flash floods occur suddenly due to rapidly rising water along a stream or low-lying area. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

  • When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
  • If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
  • Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.

Current Conditions

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Black Hills Rapids Soccer Club
P.O. Box 273 
Rapid City, South Dakota 57709

Email: [email protected]

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