A member of the Community Emergency Response Team assists an injured woman
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Youth Baseball Teams Knock Lightning Prep Out of the Park

October 2016

Cal Ripken Baseball LogoAt local baseball games, Montana’s Glasgow Umpires Association teaches lightning and thunderstorm safety. Their drills give everyone at the ball field a chance to practice what they would do if a severe weather event developed. Practicing for weather events helps people learn how to react and stay calm during a real emergency.

Baseball players run to their families' vehicles during the lightning safety drill on April 30, 2016.
Baseball players run to their families' vehicles
during the lightning safety drill on April 30, 2016.

The umpires’ dedication spans more than a decade. Their focus on safety paid off in June 2007, when they called off a game due to a weather threat. They sent everyone home as a severe weather supercell approached. The storm caused nearly $35 million in damages across the region, but players and their families were not caught by surprise.

This April, umpires briefly postponed all six opening games of the Cal Ripken Baseball youth league to hold lightning safety drills for National PrepareAthon! Day. To kick off the drills, umpires acted like they had received an emergency alert about a potential severe thunderstorm. They told players and spectators that they can get these kinds of weather updates through Weatherbug's Spark feature, which uses forecast reports from the National Weather Service (NWS), using weather radios to get alerts on watches and warnings, and calling NWS if they have concerns about potential storms.

“The umpires and coaches told the players to take quick cover in their families’ vehicles,” explained Tanja Fransen of the National Weather Service’s Glasgow Forecast Office. Fransen and the umpires worked together on-site to determine the best refuge area in a thunderstorm. There are no buildings near the ball fields, so people are safest inside their vehicles.

For more information about severe weather safety and preparedness in Big Sky Country, visit the Montana Department of Emergency Services and Ready Montana websites. You can also visit www.weather.gov, and click on the location nearest you on the map to get forecast information for your area.