News Story

Lightning Policy For Player Safety

Published: 28/04/2015 11:29:00 AM
We want all our players to be safe during severe thunderstorms. Look up. Look Out. 30-30 Rule.

But just what is the 30-30 Rule?

To put this into perspective, an average lightning bolt carries 10000-30000 amps - an average radiator draws 10 amps!

Lightning does not always strike tall objects. It can strike anywhere and strike repeatedly. If thunderstorms occur, the 30-30 rule is to be adopted. 

30-30 Lightning Rule

Should thunderstorms be prevalent on match day, the ‘30-30’ rule is to be used in order to determine whether a game should be suspended (to include delaying the commencement of the game) and when it is safe to resume play (to be determined by the Referee). 

When lightning is sighted, count the time until thunder is heard. If that time is 30 seconds or less, the thunderstorm is within 10km and is dangerous. As most experts believe that the ‘safe’ distance is no less than 10km, all people at risk should be seeking, or already inside safe shelters. This is the time at which matches should be suspended.

This rule is one of the most practical techniques for estimating the distance to lightning activity and is based on the fact that light travels faster than sound. As sound travels at a speed of around 1km every 3 seconds, the time that elapses between the flash of lightning and clap of thunder can be divided by 3 to give a measure, in kilometres, of how far away the storm is. The threat of lightning continues for a much longer period than most people realise. It is imperative to point out that sunshine or blue sky should not fool anybody into thinking that it is safe, and you should remain alert to the possible return of the storm.

Using the ‘30-30’ rule, the distance of the storm should be estimated before allowing play to continue. There is not a place absolutely safe from the lightning threat, however some places are safer than others and, where practicable, people should be moved to a safe structure as soon as possible. The best option is a large building with electric and telephone wiring and plumbing to provide a safe pathway for the current to the ground. Once inside, stay away from corded telephones, electrical appliances, lighting fixtures, radios or microphones and electric sockets and plumbing. Mobile or cordless telephones are a safe option if the person and antenna are located within a safe structure. Do not watch lightning from open windows or doorways. Inner rooms are preferable.

Using the 30-30 rule, the distance of the storm should be estimated before allowing play to continue.

Of course there are many Weather Apps available for our smart phones to assist us further.

Saturday was a clear indication of how destructive storms may be and player safety should always be paramount.


With more thunderstorms forecast for this coming weekend, we trust this information allows everyone to understand the importance of player safety and why the referee chooses to stop play during thunder and lightning activity. 

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